Global Accessibility Awareness Day

Today is Global Accessibility Awareness Day. Global Accessibility Awareness Day focusses on digital accessibility and inclusion for the more than one billion people with disabilities and (temporary) impairments.

What is Digital Accessibility?

Everyone deserves a first-rate digital experience on the web, including people with disabilities. Someone with a disability should be able to experience the web with the same successful outcome as those without disabilities.

The Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0 provide recommendations for making Web content more accessible.

In February 2021 WebAIM analysed 1 million home pages for accessibility issues and found that 97.4% had a least one WCAG 2.0 failure and there was an average of 60.9 errors per home page.

The most common accessibility failures

The vast majority of issues found stem from the following six categories. Addressing these issues alone would significantly improve accessibility across the web.

Low Contrast Text

Colours with insufficient contrast between text colour and its background are difficult to read. This is particularly difficult for people with low contrast sensitivity, which is common in older people, or people with colour blindness who cannot distinguish between certain colours.

Missing Image Alt Text

Alternative text (Alt Text) is the back-end code added to an image which describes the image to someone who can’t see it. This text helps assistive technology, like screen readers, describe images to visually impaired users. We have written an article on how to make your images accessible with Alt Text.

Empty Links

If a link contains no text, the user will not understand the purpose of the link. This can be confusing for keyboard and screen reader users. An example of this is when an image is a link but has no associated link text.

Missing Form Input Labels

Screen reader users may not understand what information they need to enter if form inputs do not have properly associated text labels, such as name, email, postal address etc. All form inputs should have labels.

Empty Buttons

If a button has no descriptive text, then screen reader users will not understand the purpose of that button. This can happen if the button is an image which includes the text as part of the image.

It is important to make sure that link text is meaningful. Link text such “Click here” or “Learn More” is vague and uninformative. We have written an article on why you shouldn’t use click here.

Missing Document Language

The language of the webpage should be identified by a HTML lang attribute. This allows screen readers to read the content in the appropriate language. It also facilitates automatic translation of content.

Work together to make the web accessible

Most of these issues arise because website designers, developers or content creators do not understand how people with disabilities use the web. That’s why it is important to raise awareness so we can all help to make the web more inclusive.

Digital Accessibility is great for your business

Having an accessible website is great for your business because it tells the world that you are inclusive, attentive to all customers, respective of best practices, and in line with the times. This will highlight the quality of your brand and help to attract customers and partners who want to be part of a good culture.

To find out more about website accessibility and to book a review of your existing website, simply email us at hello@studiobrandup.com

About Angie Vale

Angie is technical director at Studio Brand Up and has over 10 years experience in UX, web design and web accessibility.