If you haven’t looked into making your website more accessible and inclusive, you might be excluding up to 60 million potential visitors.
Vision, hearing, motor skill, speech and cognitive disorders are common obstacles online. Is your site ready for them all?

Since you’re reading this, chances are you’ve already started on the basics: larger font sizes, using alt text for images, being wary of text on colored backgrounds. But true accessibility goes much deeper than that. To accommodate disabilities of all kinds, there’s so much more to watch for.

Here are 11 not-so-obvious website fixes that will help you reach ADA compliance – and more visitors.

  1. Use descriptive links that can stand alone. Blind users with electronic readers often use links to navigate without context.
  1. Label form fields. Electronic readers can’t read placeholder text inside the form field boxes. Plus it can just be hard to see.
  1. Watch those buttons. Bad color contrast or vague directions can may your call-to-action buttons difficult to recognize or use.
  1. Get rid of symbols and abbreviations. Try to make your content as clear as possible so assistive technology can too.
  1. Limit the number of plugins. WordPress sites especially tend to use a lot of plugins – but they’re not all ADA compliant. And if they’re not, your site won’t be either.
  1. Stay consistent with header formats. H1, H2, and H3 tags aren’t just for making the page look nice. They help screen readers lead disabled users through the page in a logical order.
  1. Tag everything. Photos, graphics, image maps, scanned images – name it all. Accessibility software uses these tags as benchmarks for organizing and communicating information.
  1. Enable keyboard navigation. For users with motor skill disabilities who can’t use a mouse, moving around with Tab, Enter, arrow, Esc, space and Shift keys should be as simple and intuitive as possible. How to make this happen is beyond this article, but your site developer can help (Hint: See #7).
  1. Disable autoplay. We get it, autoplay video and audio can be engaging and increase media views. But it can also compete with screen reader audio, trigger seizures, mix up navigation and confuse people with cognitive disabilities. Better to let the user decide.
  1. Provide media alternatives. Posting a video? Great! Just include subtitles for the hearing impaired and a description for the visually impaired. While you’re at it, add transcripts for your audio clips, descriptions for animated graphics and a print/PDF version of slide shows.
  1. Use empowering navigation. Navigation “breadcrumbs” (or trails) help screen reader users know where they are at all times. Adding a “skip” or “skip to” feature also helps them move around the page at will, without reading through navigation items or every word of copy.

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