Web accessibility is a necessity. The surge of digital accessibility lawsuits in 2020 makes it even more important to make sure your website is accessible to every potential visitor. Some web accessibility problems are more obvious than others, like making sure font sizes are large enough and choosing colors that contrast well against one another. But others are less obvious and easy to overlook. Any accessibility issues can mean you’re leaving out as much as 25% of your target audience and makes your company vulnerable to ADA lawsuits.
1. Problem: Your videos aren’t captioned and audio described
Videos on your website need to include captions for people who are deaf or hard of hearing. Captions are useful for everyone because many people watch muted, captioned videos so they don’t disturb those around them. Audio descriptions are helpful for those who are blind or low vision. They describe what’s going on on the screen. Transcriptions of the video help web accessibility because people who are deaf or hard of hearing can read them, and people who are blind or low vision can use assistive technology to read the transcript to them. As an added bonus, search engines can search and index text transcripts while they cannot do so for videos.
2. Problem: Your ReCaptcha isn’t accessible
ReCaptcha spam filters block out spam, but they also block out real people. They’re enough of a hassle for people who are able to see, but many spam filters do not work with assistive technology, or require people to have full vision to complete them. Don’t block people from filling out your forms just because they aren’t able to complete a spam filter. Try a “honey pot” spam filter instead.
3. Problem: Your URLs aren’t linked to words
No one wants to see a great big long URL in the middle of a paragraph without a description of where it leads. Assistive technology reads entire URLs to users, which is very disruptive and not helpful. Instead, link URLs to words that describe what information the link provides or why it’s relevant. Then assistive technology just reads the linked text to the user and indicates that it is linked to another page.
4. Problem: Your images are poorly described
Images need to include alt text, but don’t assume that they’re accessible just because there’s something typed in the alt text field. Alt text should accurately describe the image and its relevance to the rest of the page. For example, a web page about flea and tick medications for dogs might have a picture of a grassy backyard. While it would be accurate to simply say “grass” as the alt text, it would be more accessible relative to the page to say “grassy backyard where dogs could pick up fleas and ticks.”
5. Problem: You picked a web accessibility plug-in to fix everything
If it seems too good to be true, it probably is. One line or a few lines of code simply won’t catch all your accessibility issues. One-size-fits-all automated accessibility “solutions” often only catch 20-30% of accessibility problems. They can sometimes identify missing coding, but they can’t detect whether the coding that does exist is correct, whether things like headings and alt text are accurate, or whether the reading order is set correctly. That’s a problem if you have multiple columns or images between paragraphs. Unless your accessibility solution is custom-built, manually reviewing the website and its coding is the only accurate way to identify and fix accessibility issues.
6. Problem: Your PDFs aren’t tagged (even the archived ones)
Even if they’re buried in the far reaches of your website’s archived files, your PDFs need to be accessible. Assistive technology users can only access PDF files that are tagged for accessibility. While building a tag tree on each document can be time consuming, it’s important to make all of them accessible because even one inaccessible PDF can give a user cause to file a lawsuit. It’s important that any client statements or reports be accessible as well. That can take time if you’ve got thousands of files or statements, but it doesn’t have to be if you have the right software. Equidox PDF remediation software is easy to learn and use, and quickly builds tag trees with the help of AI-powered Smart Tools that identify many elements for you. Then the user can adjust as needed for accuracy.
7. Problem: You didn’t recheck your web accessibility after updates
Maybe your website was perfectly and thoroughly checked for accessibility last year. Every document, file, and page followed web accessibility best practices. But you’ve probably updated your website since then by adding and editing content. Check your website for accessibility carefully and frequently. There’s a chance any additions or changes made to your website may have “broken” your website’s accessibility.
Web accessibility requires diligence
Making sure every part of your website works for as many potential visitors as possible is not only a best practice to avoid ADA lawsuits but also enhance your company’s visibility. Check even the less-visited pages and files, and make sure every element is both accessible and usable in order to comply with the ADA.
Ready to find and fix your hidden web accessibility problems and reach more potential customers? Contact us!