Have you ever wondered how accessible your website is? People with disabilities, as well as some elderly people, may need to navigate the web differently. For example, some use screen readers or relying solely on the keyboard.
Because the web is such an important resource it’s crucial to build accessible websites. According to Ontario law, beginning January 1, 2021, all public sector, private or non-profit organizations with 50 or more employees must meet Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) Level AA with the exception of live captions and pre-recorded audio descriptions.
WordPress has limited fully accessible themes but there are a few simples things that you can do to improve your user’s experience.
1. Provide text alternatives for images
Alternative text, known as alt text, creates alt tags, text that pops up when your mouse hovers over an image. Adding alt text to your images is important because it helps those who use screen readers know what the image is.
To add alt text to your images in WordPress simply add a short, accurate description of the image and include any words the image may contain in the alt text field when uploading your image. If your images are already uploaded you can go to media in your dashboard and edit the images from there as seen in the example below.
2. Make your links visible and descriptive
Visually-impaired people can use screen readers to scan links. Imprecise links such as “click here” don’t give the user any context. Describe your links properly so that the users know where the links will take them. The Nielsen Norman Group offers good advice and examples on how to write effective links.
Make your links obvious by differentiating them from your body text. Use contrast colours, underlines and/or a different font weight. This can be a bit trickier to do in WordPress as you might need to add some custom CSS.
The WCAG website can be intimidating because of all the info that might be complicated to understand. I found the wuhcag.com to be more beginner friendly. If you need some help making your site more accessible send me a message I would love to help.