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What is web accessibility?

It is possible that web accessibility is something you have never heard about. For most people it is easy to use the web: you can point, click, listen, watch, and skip content. If you, or someone close to you has a disability, you will know how frustrating these things can be. It is important businesses know what web accessibility is, and that they try to make their website as accessible as possible.

In 2011, there were over 11 million people with a disability, long term illness, or impairment in the UK. According to the Office for National Statistics, in May 2015, 86% of adults in the UK regularly use the internet, compared to only 67.8% of disabled adults. That means over 7 million disabled adults in the UK use the internet on a regular basis.

disabled accessSource: Freeimages, Simon Gray

Disabled access

In the most basic way, web accessibility means that everyone should be able to access the web. In the UK, most people have the means to access the internet, but what web accessibility really stands for, is that everyone can use the services and information on the internet.

People with disabilities can include, for example:

  • People who are visually impaired or blind
  • People who are hard of hearing or deaf
  • People with limited function of their hands or arms.

Aside from people with a disability, older people and people who have difficulties with the English language, also appreciate accessible websites.

How do I make my website accessible?

When you buy a Trendzer website, the copywriter and designer will make sure your website is accessible. If you want to change the content or design of your site at a later date, you can follow these pointers as a guide to ensure your website stays accessible.

1. Correct use of headings

Not only is correct use of headings good for SEO, it also helps with making your website more accessible. Screen readers use the headings to find out the structure of your text. A screen reader is a software application that interprets your website. It then presents your website with sound icons, text-to-speech or a Braille output device. Site visitors who use a screen reader can use the headings to skim through the content.

How to make sure your headings are correct:

  • Your page title should always be in Header 1. You should avoid using Header 1 for anything else.
  • Use Header 2 and Header 3 to show new topics and subtopics on your page. Visitors using a screen reader (and normal visitors) use headings to skim content, to find the section they are interested in.
  • Do not skip heading levels (don’t go from Header 1 to Header 3), as screen readers will wonder if content is missing.

example headers in trendzer

The Trendzer platform makes it easy to choose different headers.

2. Contrasting colours

Do you want to change your site's images or the colours of your text and background? You need to make sure that the new content passes the "contrast test". If your site has black text on a dark blue background, the contrast will be too low, and visually impaired people will not be able to read it. There are several tools and sites, like WebAim and Gray-bit, which show you if your new colours are OK.

grayscale example of trendzer website

A snippet from the site, converted into grayscale by

3. Image “alt text”

If you’re adding more images to your site, it is important to add “alt text” to the images. In Trendzer, you add this “alternative text” in the “Title” box. It’s important to do this because:

  • Screen readers read the “alt text” out loud, allowing visually impaired people to understand the content and function of the image on your site.
  • When the image is not loaded, or when the user has chosen not to view images, the “alt text” is displayed in place of the image.
  • On top of that, search machines read the “alt text” of your image and use it to help them organise search results. By describing your images with alternative text, you can attract more visitors through Google Images.

alt textAdding the “alt text” to an image on a Trendzer website using ‘Title’

4. Unique link names

If you have links in your content, you need to avoid using anchor text like: “click here” or “read more”. Just like sighted readers, visually-impaired people with screen readers sometimes scan text for links. Make sure your link is descriptive and it explains where it is taking you.

example bad and good links

5. Videos with subtitles

Adding video content to your website is a wonderful idea, because it makes your website more interactive. People with hearing disabilities and people learning the English language might have hard time understanding them though.Luckily, most video platforms will enable you to add subtitles to a video. Have a look at how to add subtitles on Youtube and on Vimeo.

youtube subtitles

Youtube explains how to turn on the subtitles in a video

Once you’ve added the subtitles, you can add the video to your Trendzer website using the video player app.

video upload in trendzertrendzer video

How to add a video to your Trendzer website

All businesses should make sure that their website

is as accessible as possible. If you would like to learn more about accessibility and other features in Trendzer website packages, phone our team on 0800 047 6777.

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