Small Tweaks That Can Make a Huge Impact on Your Website’s Accessibility

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For a beginner, accessibility can be daunting. With all of the best intentions in the world, the learning curve to developing compliant, fully accessible websites and apps is huge. It’s also hard to find the right advice, because it’s an ever-changing and increasingly crowded landscape.

I’ve written this post to give you some tips on small things that can make a big difference, while hopefully not affecting your development process too much.

Let’s dive in!

Document Structure and Semantics

It probably doesn’t come as much of a surprise that structuring your HTML in an organized, semantic way will make a big difference. Screen readers rely on a well-structured document in order to follow a coherent narrative, so make sure that you’re using the elements that the HTML5 spec provides responsively and effectively.

If you’re unsure about how to markup your work correctly, check out resources such as HTML5 Doctor, Code Academy and of course, CSS-Tricks. You can also check out articles like “Writing HTML with accessibility in mind” and “Semantic Structure” to get you going in the right direction.

Let’s look at three specific things that can help ensure a well-structured and semantic document.

Use a Single
Element

A good example of building a responsible, semantic document structure is only using one

element. This should serve as a signpost for the most important content of the page for your user.

Add an ID to it and offer a skip link in your main

like so:

Your main page title

Skip to the main content

This little trick should help your screen reader users out in a big way, because they can go ahead and skip the fancy bits and dive right into your important content. It’s also great for keyboard users for the same reason.

Another nice touch is to add a :focus style to the skip link that makes it visible. Try pressing your tab key on this post. Pretty neat, right?

Use Elements Appropriately

So,