For the past 10 years, Global Accessibility Awareness Day (GAAD) has focused on the importance of digital access and inclusion for the more than one billion people with disabilities and impairments.
The purpose of GAAD is to get those who create digital technology (websites, online courses, digital materials, online documents, software, mobile apps, etc.) thinking and learning about making digital technology accessible and inclusive to people with varying abilities.
Every user deserves a first-rate digital experience on the web. Someone with a disability must be able to experience web-based services, content and other digital products with the same successful outcome as those without disabilities. This awareness and commitment to inclusion is the goal of GAAD, a global event that shines a light on digital access and inclusion for people with disabilities.Global Accessibility Awareness Day (GAAD)
At Airship, we are committed to designing and building accessible custom software. That’s why we wanted to share the information we use and some of the processes we have included internally to make sure we are always building towards a more accessible world.
So in honor of Global Accessibility Awareness Day, we collected 6 tips on how to make your website more accessible immediately plus a bonus challenge (website not required!).
1. Add Alt Text to All Images
This allows for screen readers to “read” the image and replaces the image with Alt text if the image fails to load. Make sure the text clearly defines the graphic.
2. Give Links Unique and Descriptive Names
Links should always be underlined and given a meaningful name so screen
readers can easily identify the links within the content.
3. Provide Captions for Videos and Transcripts for Audio
Captions, transcripts, and other text alternatives for video and audio on your site will ensure that users with visual and auditory impairments can still access the content.
4. Choose Colors Carefully
A best practice here is not to use color as the only visual means of conveying information. Using symbols such as: tooltips, thick borders, icons, bold text, underlines, italics, etc. in conjunction with color will greatly improve the accessibility of your site.
5. Use Tables for Tabular Data, Not for Layout
Tables used for layout purposes can cause confusion for visitors using screen readers. Limit table use to data only, and follow the W3C Table Guidelines.
6. Enable Keyboard Navigation
Keyboard accessibility is one of the most critical aspects of web accessibility that are often overlook. As you navigate a webpage, the order of the interactive elements is essential. If a user is using only a keyboard—or only the tab key—can they successfully explore the content? Will it make sense to them?
Bonus Tip for GAAD!
And for those who are not webmasters or site owners, there are still great opportunities for everyone to not only learn more about accessible design in technology, but most importantly, empathize.
Spend an hour or two doing the following:
- Learn how accessible digital content benefits everyone (perspective videos).
- Explore how people with disabilities use the web.
- Access “An Introduction to Screen Readers” recorded webinar, provided by Deque.
- Experience first-hand the impact of digital accessibility (GAAD).
- Participate in virtual activities to celebrate GAAD.
Now you are tasked with taking one piece of information you learned from Global Accessible Awareness Day and use it to improve the accessibility of the digital technology you build or enjoy each day.