Web accessibility is all about making your website accessible and easy to use for people with disabilities. Accessibility is more important than you might think, even when it comes to plastic surgery marketing. Nearly 20% of Internet users have some form of disability, with disabilities being defined as anything from color blindness to more severe disabilities. And who knows, it may very well be required some day that all online businesses comply with the accessibility standards of the Americans with Disabilities Act.
So, is your website an accessible one, one that can be used by people with disabilities? If you’re not sure, take a good look at your site and check for the following:
- Accessible forms. Forms typically contain prompt text with each item, such as name’, email’ or comments’ with a contact form. Each prompt text has a box next to it where the user inputs their information. If your forms are accessible, clicking on the prompt text should make a flashing cursor appear in the box beside that text.
- Alternative text with informational images. Your practice logo would be an example of an informational image. Place your cursor over the image to see if a yellow box appears with a description of that image. This text is what users will see or hear in place of the image if their browsers do not support images.
- Alternative text with decorative images. Place your cursor over a decorative image, something that’s simply for looks and has no actual function. Decorative images should not contain yellow boxes with text as informational images do. Because these images serve no purpose, there is no reason to include alternative text with them.
- Audio and video transcripts. Any audio or video content on your website is inaccessible to deaf people if you don’t include a written transcript.
- Descriptive link text. It’s important for blind Internet users that your link text be descriptive and that it makes sense when taken out of context.
- Lynx compatibility. The text-only Lynx browser does not support many features that other browsers do. You should check how your site looks and functions in this browser. To do so, go to http://www.delorie.com/web/lynxview.html. If your website is compatible with this browser, you’re likely already meeting many web accessibility guidelines.
- Mouse-less navigation. Check to see if you can access all areas of your site using the tab, shift-tab and return keys instead of using the mouse. This is important for keyboard- and voice-only users.
- Site map. Your website should include a site map. This is important for everyone, not just those with disabilities.
- Text resizing. People with poor visibility must be able to resize the text on your website. In order to check this in Internet Explores, go to View/Font size/Largest. If your site’s text does not increase in size, it is not accessible.