In today’s digital world, it’s more important than ever to ensure that your website is accessible to everyone. This includes people with disabilities, such as those who are blind, deaf, or have motor impairments.
According to the World Health Organization, 1 billion people, or 15% of the global population, experience some form of disability. That’s a huge audience that you could be missing out on if your website isn’t accessible.
Making your website accessible isn’t just a moral obligation, it’s also good for business. Studies have shown that accessible websites have a higher conversion rate and lower bounce rate.
What are the 7 Most Common Web Accessibility Issues in 2024?
Like I have mentioned earlier, nowadays, ensuring web accessibility is no longer just a best practice, but an ethical and legal imperative.
An accessible website benefits everyone, not just users with disabilities, by promoting web inclusivity and user experience for all. However, despite its importance, accessibility often falls short during website development and implementation.
Here are the seven most common web accessibility issues to avoid in 2024 and, of course, beyond:
1. Uncontrolled Focus State
Imagine traversing a website solely through keyboard commands, relying on each keystroke to reveal your digital landscape.
Now, imagine that landscape lacking any visual indicator of your current location, leaving you disoriented and uncertain of your next step. Such is the experience for users with motor impairments navigating websites with an uncontrolled focus state.
The absence of a clear visual on the selected element hampers precise movement and discourages efficient keyboard interaction. Conversely, implementing a controlled focus state through subtle background changes establishes a crucial roadmap.
This simple design decision empowers keyboard users to navigate with confidence, promoting active engagement with your website’s content.
2. Missing or Confusing Link Text
Sure links offer pathways through the digital landscape, beckoning users to explore deeper levels of your website.
However, vague or generic link text like “Click here” or “Learn more,” which were popular in the 1990’s, are akin to unmarked trails, leaving users disoriented and unsure of their destination.
Precise and concise link text acts as a guiding hand, accurately describing the content or resource accessible through the link.
When you say “Read our detailed product specifications” instead of “More information” – the user instantly understands the value awaiting them and is empowered to make an informed decision about whether to navigate further.
3. Videos Without Transcripts or Captions
Video content can be a powerful storytelling tool, but for individuals who are deaf or hard of hearing, it can transform into a silent movie, leaving them excluded from the narrative.
By incorporating transcripts, or captions you unmute the visual story, making it accessible to a broader audience.
Amazingly, transcripts provide a written record of the video’s dialogue and sound effects, while captions that work properly without issues overlay text directly onto the video itself, synchronizing with the spoken word.
These simple additions unlock the rich tapestry of your video content for everyone, fostering inclusivity and ensuring no user is left behind.
4. Lack of Keyboard Accessibility
For individuals with motor impairments, the ubiquitous mouse can become an impassable barrier separating them from online content.
Just as explorers navigate treacherous terrain, these users rely solely on keyboard commands to traverse virtual landscapes. But encountering elements inaccessible by keyboard erects invisible walls, restricting access to your website’s offerings.
Bridging this digital divide requires ensuring seamless keyboard navigation across all functionalities and interactive elements – from forms and buttons to menus and links. This empowers users to navigate independently, fostering a sense of control.
Through implementing robust keyboard accessibility, you not only remove unnecessary obstacles but also unlock the full potential of your website for all users.
5. Poor Color Contrast
For users with vision impairments or specific color blindness, vibrant color palettes can pose significant barriers to accessibility.
Text can become illegible, dissolving into a frustrating blur. To overcome this limitation, integrating a color contrast checker into your design process is crucial.
These tools provide an objective assessment of the contrasting relationship between text and background colors. By ensuring compliance with minimum recommended ratios for legibility, you actively address accessibility concerns.
This prioritization of sufficient contrast transforms potentially inaccessible visual information into a clear and inclusive landscape for all users, regardless of visual ability.
6. Lack of Alternative Text Descriptions
For countless individuals who rely on screen readers due to visual impairments, images can be shrouded in mystery. Without descriptive alt text, these crucial visual elements become silent barriers, hindering comprehension and limiting engagement.
Alt text serves as a vital bridge, translating the visual narrative into words, allowing users to grasp the image’s context and function, becoming relevant to the surrounding content, as well as boosting search engines visibility.
A well-crafted alt text paints a clear picture, describing the image’s key elements, not just its aesthetics. Think of it as providing a verbal interpretation that seamlessly integrates the image within the overall information flow.
7. PDFs that are not accessible
Websites often utilize PDFs to share comprehensive information, from reports and brochures to guides and manuals. While convenient, these seemingly unobtrusive documents can become veritable digital barriers for individuals with disabilities.
Inaccessible PDFs, riddled with visual-only content and lacking proper formatting, impede navigation, limit comprehension, and ultimately exclude a significant portion of your audience.
To bridge this digital divide and foster a truly inclusive web experience, get to emphasize the importance of accessibility, outline practical solutions, and integrate Call to Actions (CTAs).
Creating accessible PDFs is not just about meeting compliance requirements; it’s about creating a welcoming and inclusive environment for everyone.
By implementing these solutions, you can bridge the digital divide and ensure your website offers an exceptional experience for all users, regardless of their abilities.
Let’s make 2024 the year we collectively prioritize digital inclusivity. By refining our websites and championing inclusive design principles, we can dismantle accessibility barriers & transform online spaces into beacons of responsible citizenship.
Remember, the web is a global commons, and building it in an accessible manner ensures everyone has the opportunity to participate, contribute, and thrive.
Join the movement for digital accessibility. Explore the valuable resources offered by the Web Accessibility Initiative (WAI) and leverage their comprehensive guidelines and tools to empower your journey.
Now, go forth and build inclusively!