You might not be aware that your website is riddled with accessibility issues that are slowly chipping away at its performance. While they seem to be simple problems at first, they can pose serious risks to your business—costly lawsuits, financial losses, and even reputational damage.
Most companies tend to overlook a handful of web content accessibility concerns. One is the misuse of headings. Rather than being used as functional tools, headings are usually treated as stylistic components. However, doing so can interfere with the way content is presented to web users since headings are designed to determine the sequential order of text, not its aesthetic appearance. To assign heading tags to text, make use of <h1> to <h6> markups. But to modify the style of your block of text, make use of Cascading Style Sheets (CSS) code.
Of course, the purpose of implementing proper headings is not only to provide a definite conceptual outline for your content but also to enable screen readers to move along your content hierarchy with ease. Through headings, users with disabilities are able to navigate from one category to the next or make leaps within your content hierarchy.
Keyboard accessibility is another overlooked area of concern. Most websites fail to take into consideration users with disabilities or limited mobility. These types of users prefer or rely on keyboard navigation to explore a website, so it’s important to make your content accessible through standard keystrokes. Screen users must be able to access intractable elements, such as buttons, links, forms, and menus through keyboard controls even without the use of a mouse.
Moreover, marking up regions on your website is also a powerful step in enhancing your overall accessibility. By identifying regions on your website, you allow assistive technologies to recognize these landmarks more accurately. This means screen users are able to find their way through the platform via these page regions. Aside from the usual <header>, <footer>, and <nav>, don’t forget to markup the <main> or the primary content region and the <aside> or the supporting content region to make these sections equally accessible to them.
Another frequently made error in web accessibility involves the lack of alternative text or alt tags in visual elements. Every image on your website must contain alt text, which makes them accessible to screen readers. Alt text also makes your web pages more discoverable to search engines. So, in order to score higher in search rankings, always include appropriate alt text to your image and graphic content. But make sure to create descriptions that are brief and not stuffy. Also, make mention of the topic of the webpage to increase the likelihood of being indexed by search engines like Google.
The absence of a breadcrumb trail is another overlooked website content issue. A breadcrumb trail acts as a secondary navigation system for your users as it determines their specific location within the website and reveals the progress in their user journey. Without one, it can significantly impact how they navigate your website.
One of the advantages of creating a breadcrumb trail is that it encourages exploration of the various components on the website, reducing the likelihood of web visitors bouncing off the page. Moreover, this navigation scheme allows easy penetration of web pages, especially low-traffic ones.
Indeed, it’s important to run regular audits on your website to determine where you can make improvements. If you want to enhance your customer experience, strengthen your web security, and avoid running the risk of a major lawsuit, then make it a point to turn your digital platform 100% compliant to this list of web accessibility standards.