One vital SEO tip is to never ignore user experience. Ranking high on search engines gets people to click to your website, but a great user experience is what makes people stay. Websites that are hard to error-ridden, hard to read, and impossible to navigate can turn off potential customers.
Remember: many of your site visitors may have disabilities and impairments that keep them from having the best website experience.
Not everyone can decipher stylized fonts and flashy pages. Some users might be using screen readers and other accessibility tools to access your content. This is the main principle behind web accessibility, and it helps both users and web hosts in the long run.
Why Is Web Accessibility Important For Small Businesses?
In short, your website should ideally cater to as many people as possible. This is especially important for small business owners who are just starting out and need to expand their consumer base. Even if your website is new and relatively simple, it’s good to keep an eye on its accessibility.
This article will look at site design and optimization practices that make your website more accessible to everyone.
Web Accessibility Tips For Your Website
1. Optimize For Screen Reader Compatibility
People who are blind, dyslexic, and have low vision often use a screen reader to use their phones. Screen readers use text-to-speech to read out content and navigation cues. These screen readers can detect HTML on headers, titles, and image alt texts.
Most smartphones already have built-in screen readers, so you can use those to do a quick accessibility test on your site pages.
Make sure your site structure is well-designed and clean. Your pages, site maps, and menus should be organized and easy to follow. In general, messy pages and links are distracting for everyone.
2. Make Your Pages Keyboard Compatible
A lot of assistive tools use keyboard navigations. For example, most desktop screen readers require you to use keyboard functions to navigate and read web pages.
That said, your website should be usable without a mouse. Make sure your menus, links, content, and pages can be accessed or interacted with using keyboard shortcuts.
3. Use Headers
Speaking of organizing your website, headers are a great way to section off your pages. Unfortunately, large walls of texts tend to makes it hard for users to skim your content. This means that if they’re looking for very specific information from your page or blog posts, it will be harder for them to find it.
Additionally, screen readers can read headers on their own, so it would allow site visitors to use text-to-speech to give them an idea of the contents of your page or skip to the information they’re looking for.
In general, header tags improve the flow of your text and make it much easier to understand and digest your content.
4. Use Captions
You should add captions to all types of media you use—including images, videos, and GIFs. Captions allow you to give context to what’s happening in the image, explain how it’s relevant to the text, and assign labels to images.
Embedded Youtube videos already have auto-detect captions that can be relatively accurate. However, if you’re uploading a video file directly into your pages, you should consider adding captions for hard-of-hearing and deaf site visitors.
5. Use Alt Text
Unfortunately, even with the technological advancements in recent years, there is still no reliable technology that can detect the subject of photos and videos. That’s what alt text is for: to tell visually impaired readers and search engines what’s in an image.
Unlike captions, alt texts aren’t visible from the web browser, but screen readers can read them. Your alt texts should be descriptive, allowing users with visual impairments to know what an image is about.
6. Make Your Texts Resizable
Users with visual impairments like to resize text. It’s more convenient than having to zoom in and out every time they want to read something.
However, if you don’t make your site compatible with this accessibility function, resizing text can ruin your design or make navigation impossible. This can happen if you use absolute units for all your texts (i.e., setting a fixed font size for your content). To avoid running into this problem, use relative sizes that adjust with scaling and screen sizes.
7. Choose Your Colors Wisely
Your website’s color scheme isn’t just for the aesthetic. Bad color choices can affect your site’s readability, making it hard for even users who don’t usually need assistive tools.
Here are a few things to remember:
- Your text should be visible and readable, so don’t put dark text over dark backgrounds—this applies to your blog posts, buttons, and site menus.
- Your links also tend to have a different color than your texts, so consider that when you’re choosing a background.
- Some color combinations by themselves can bother users, like extremely bright, neon, and high contrast colors.
8. Avoid Flashy Images, Videos, And Animations
Slideshows, GIFs, videos, and animations may be detrimental to users with visual processing or cognitive problems. For example, excessive blinking and flashing animations can cause seizures.
Pop-ups with audio or auto-playing videos can also interfere with sound-based assistive tools like screen readers. If you really have to use them, add an option to stop or pause the audio and animations.
About the Author: JC Serrano founded 1000Attorneys in 2005, one of the very few private enterprises certified by the California State Bar to process lawyer referrals. His lawyer marketing strategies have continuously evolved, incorporating ever-changing SEO tactics into lawyerleadmachine.com.
Barbara Casey is a customer engagement and text marketing expert as well as the CEO of Mobile High 5. She holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Journalism and Advertising from the University of Kansas. She is also a graduate of Goldman Sach’s 10,000 Small Business education program. Barbara has 30 years of experience […]
Melinda Emerson wrote this originally at Branding & Marketing Archives » Succeed As Your Own Boss .