Accessibility Tips Part 1

Last time we talked about the importance of accessibility. This time I’ll be giving some tips that should help you avoid making mistakes when implementing accessibility.

  • Be concise - I have mentioned this in my last post but this time remember to be concise not just in the written content but also with the ALT text. You do not have to describe just exactly what an image looks like but you should simply state what the image contains. For example if the image contains a child eating a lollipop then put “Child Eating a Lollipop” in the ALT text. You do not have to write “Pretty child with blond hair eating a big half-eaten red and white lollipop.” Furthermore if you use images as borders or for other decorative purposes only you do not need to put ALT text so that the screen readers can just skip those images. Emphasis is given to accessibility but only to relevant content. Lessen the noise to make surfing your site more easy.
  • Do not use access keys - Some webmasters think that access keys are cool. However, if you pause and think about it how many of your users actually spend time learning the access keys in your site? Changes are, that unless your site contains games or a useful application used by people on a daily basis, then almost no one even bothers to really learn the access keys you so painstakingly put up for their use. In terms of accessibility, access keys can also actually be a deterrent since they sometimes override keyboard shortcuts used by screen readers. This means that instead of helping your users you might be unintentionally sabotaging your visually-impaired users ability to surf your site.

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