Tips to improve the accessibility of your website

Accessibility is trying to make sure your site can be accessed by as many people as possible.

When creating your company website consider the following:

There are many ways to make a site accessible and many guidelines around. However, often they are contradictory and can be difficult to interpret.

On this website we have tried to follow best practice, starting with providing access to the Recite Me accessibility tool, which you can turn on by clicking Enable Accessibilityabove (top left of the page). This allows control over the most important areas of accessibility including colours, font sizes and typefaces as well as providing the option to read the text.

In addition, you may wish to consider our “Top Ten” which are relevant for everybody, but particularly for those who may have ‘hidden impairments’. Remember that “accessible” is more than just size and colour!

1) Reading Comprehension – Use plain, jargon free, English, with sentences preferably shorter than 25 words. That will make it easier to get your message across.

2) Readability – Check the readability of the main content before you release information. You could use the ones built into Microsoft Word (see their Help section in Office) or try online sites such as https://readable.io/text/

3) Colour contrasts – Use colour with care. A dark background with dark text makes it harder to read. High contrast colours such as black and yellow often favoured for the visually impaired is not a good combination for dyslexia users. Pastel coloured backgrounds are best, though try to offer a number of alternatives.

4) Keyboard and mouse use – Where possible, ensure you can move around the website using both the mouse AND a keyboard. Note there are guidelines on the web so that everybody uses the same key combinations for similar tasks.

5) Information and colour – Ensure colour is not the only way of conveying information (i.e. include the numerical percentage when displaying a statistical pie chart). Remember up to 8% of the population has some form of colour blindness.

6) Choice of font – If you do not have an accessibility toolbar that allows the user to change fonts, use a clear, easy to read font such as Arial, Verdana rather than Times Roman for example. You should also be able to increase the font size in the browser by up to 200% without losing information.

7) Screen readers – Make sure your text can all be accessed easily by screen readers (sometimes referred to as text-to-speech). These are very important not only to the visually impaired by also the dyslexic individual amongst others. This includes ensuring all images and videos have appropriate tags.

8) Links – Try to avoid using “Click here” for links. All links should always make contextual sense when viewed on their own. Say what the link is.

9) Structure – Ensure the structure is clear. It is easier to make a website to win awards than it is to make one that ensures a good user experience, especially those with ‘hidden impairments’.

10) Use people who practice what they preach – Finally, before you take on somebody to “redesign” your site to make it more accessible, check that their website follows the simple guidelines above.