There’s no ‘I’ in accessibility
Ok, there is. In fact, there are three. Much like there are three lions… sorry, the sports analogies will get better so please carry on reading! The point is that accessibility is a team sport.
Accessibility is not a one-off task that you tag on the end of your website project and then forget about. It’s an ongoing process and a partnership between clients and agencies.
Wondering who gets left on the bench? Check out this PDF guide to the main accessibility players.
Breaking through the defence
Everyone wants their website to be impactful. But fancy design features like auto-playing videos, image carousels, and all those associated flashes and bangs can just put up barriers to people accessing your content. Much like Spain’s Olga Carmona standing in the way of England’s Keira Walsh.
These tools can give you a sense of how well your website scores for accessibility. But it’s a bit like playing for a team without a manager. Some issues that will be brought up by these tools will make sense because they’re about colour contrast or missing alt tags to images. But you may get lost at aria labels and focus states and be in need of some strategic direction. Your agency can help you understand the results and make the more complicated changes.
Sub on the impact players
The only way you’ll know for sure if your website is accessible in practice is to include manual testing by people who actually rely on assistive technology or have accessibility needs. We work with testing partners Zoonou and Digital Accessibility Centre.
Follow the game plan
Content editors are a key group who can affect the accessibility of a website because they are regularly adding content. Content editors need training in writing accessible content and adding it to the Content Management System (CMS) in an accessible way. For example, some key things that all content editors need to be aware of:
- Using headings to structure content
- Using descriptive link text
- Writing alt text for images that are informative
- Referring to writing guidelines and writing in plain English
And for the website owner, the most important thing is to make time for accessibility. Accessibility is so much easier to achieve when it’s baked in at the start rather than trying to retrofit it.
- Accessibility overlays are not the answer. We explain more in this blog post.
- If you’re planning a redesign make the case for accessibility now. Start those conversations so that accessibility is understood as a priority. Deadlines bring pressure, and trying to raise accessibility part way through a project will impact time and budget.
- Train content editors to respect your accessibility guidelines.
She shoots, she scores
By building a culture of accessibility and seeing it as a team effort you are contributing to building a web for all. It’s a winning feeling. It’s your project, you will always be the star striker. But as your agency, we are making those artful crosses to set you up for success.
Good luck to England’s Lionesses as they take on Spain in the World Cup Final on Sunday!