How to Make Your Website Fully Accessible
Read the full episode transcript below:
00:28 David Blackmon: Welcome to another episode of WP The Podcast, i’m David Blackmon.
00:35 Tim Strifler: And i’m Tim Strifler
00:38 David Blackmon: Yesterday we talked about um a pretty important topic and these two episodes were talking about things that aren’t super popular but guess what? They’re super important and here’s a pro tip: if you didn’t listen to yesterday’s website it was a podcast it was we talked about multilingual websites, in the value and importance of having them. Today we’re going to talk about how to make your website fully accessible. These are probably two very important things to do for your website and unfortunately a lot of people don’t take the time to do them And what end up? Ends up happening is a lot of the websites that are out there get kind of taken away for people who may not speak the language for example or maybe hearing or visually impaired. And here’s the pro tip: if you take the time to do these things multilingual and make your site accessible, the search engines really really like it. And if the majority of people aren’t taking the time to do this, well you can get a leg up on your competition if you choose to do it by making your site accessible and possibly even multilingual. So those are just a couple of things that i wanted to talk about and stuff, and Tim why don’t you tell us what what does it mean to have a site that is fully accessible?
02:17 Tim Strifler: Yeah, so accessibility uh is basically for making sure that your website uh a user can consume the content no matter what disabilities they may have. So um visually impaired is obviously one, hearing impaired is another, but also uh it kind of goes beyond that too. So for example not just people that are like fully blind, but people that maybe have issues seeing certain colors. Right so there’s a lot of variations of those disabilities that we think of, when we think of accessibility. And so um yeah there’s a lot of nuances to it and stuff and um so unfortunately there’s not like just a straightforward way. You can’t just install a plug-in and click a button and all of a sudden your website is fully accessible. It’s a little more complicated that. And so we actually we’re posting the show notes um two really good pieces of content that will help you if we try to answer, all these questions in this episode it would be an hour long, but we have a Divi chat episode uh that is all about uh website accessibility um with uh WordPress. We talk about Divi but really it’s WordPress in general, and then an article from Kinsta on WordPress accessibility and stuff. And then we have a link to a service called Accessibility which is really powerful tool that can help make your website more accessible. It’s not a WordPress specific tool but basically what it does is, it allows it installs a little widget that’s a little floating icon at the bottom right of your screen, and when you click it, it lets you customize the different options for uh different i guess improvements for people with disabilities. And so you can turn on different profiles for visually impaired for people who are prone to seizures um there’s an adhd profile with fewer distractions there’s a cognitive disability profile which will assist with reading and focusing. Um and so there’s all these different things that are are built in to really like take your accessibility to a whole another level. You can with one click using this tool uh a user can adjust the content scaling, so basically making it larger or smaller. So if they’re have a visually impaired but not fully blind they might just need to make everything really big, and then you can change the font making it a more of a system font, so it’s more readable. If the website has a lot of kind of designy fonts to it you can have a text magnifier so if you want to just magnify certain text you can. Just kind of hover over it and it’ll it’ll uh magnify just that area of text so a lot of cool things you can change, the colors do contrast do high saturation monochrome lots of different things. And so that’s a really cool tool to install. But beyond that there’s some kind of just best practice things to do when building the site to make it more accessible So for example like this is probably the most basic basic rule is you don’t ever want text on an image, like that’s actually in the image, right like the part of the image. You want the text to be actual html text on the page and that is for assisting screen readers. So someone who is visually impaired, and and they rely on screen readers to hear the content on the screen if if there’s words that are in the image they’re not going to see those. And so um i guess certain AI tools are getting better with uh reading text within images. So yeah it so that is definitely a good thing but you should still put your text in html and everything like that, just uh to make it more straightforward for users and stuff. So those are that’s like a super basic tip, but we talk a lot about it on the Divi Chat episode. Talk all about accessibility and stuff like that, and so there’s actually um if you’re interested as a web designer you can get certified and so then you learn all the ins and outs of accessibility, and then you can get certified. I think it’s by Wcag Webcon Accessibility Guidelines. It’s like an association that kind of oversees uh the initiative for making the internet more accessible. So accessibility is a good thing. It’s not just good for your users but it’s good for you as the website owner or website builder, it’s good for clients. If you’re building websites for clients because it’s going to potentially get them more sales and then not to like put in a scare tactic fear-mongering.
07:18 David Blackmon: Tim, don’t.. don’t steal my don’t steal my thunder. That’s my, that’s my one close-out thing.
07:25 Tim Strifler: All right, all right. I’ll give it to you i talked for a while.
07:30 David Blackmon: Yeah, um one thing that’s really important and i remember when this started happening a few years ago and um we made changes immediately. So don’t even try or think about it! I’m just going to say, but the number of lawsuits for unaccessible inaccessible websites is has tripled since 2017 which is huge. So what does that mean and specifically where i heard about it was The State of California. You know the State of California these attorneys got together and they started suing businesses that had websites that were not accessible, because they weren’t following the you know ada title iii website accessibility lawsuits is what they’re actually called in federal court but they’re the American Disability Act. And you know, i hate to say this but lawyers are going to seize their opportunity when they can. I mean the internet in for all intents and purposes is still very brand new, and it even though it has technically been around for 30 plus years 30 to 40 years it’s still very brand new. Um i mean it’s evolving and changing so fast and i think they’re just jumping on they see an opportunity and they’re jumping on it. But i hate to say it you need to be aware of it, because if you’re a business and you are have a website that’s serving the world and you’re not ada compliant in the u.s you could potentially be sued, and these lawsuits were lost the websites lost the what the the lawsuit, and you know it cost them ten you know thousands if not tens of thousands of dollars, and fines, and fees. And depending on i think they’re mainly going after the really big websites you know. So that they can get the score i think the small mom and pops are not you know targeting because you know i just don’t think that the value is there, yeah it’s not enough money for the value is not there. So i appreciate you letting you saving that one for me Tim because as you were as you were talking i just remembered it. I remember when it happened and smiles like is your site’s accessible and i was like uh i don’t know.
10:00 Tim Strifler: Yeah and uh i mean it’s basically being viewed as like a form of discrimination, right? By not allowing your content to be consumed by people with disabilities, it’s like you’re discriminating against people with those disabilities. Essentially it’s like having uh a really cool event happening at a venue and not having any way for someone in a wheelchair to come and see the event the concert whatever it may be. And so it’s like it’s just be a good human being and make your content accessible to everyone um it’s it’s it’s the good human thing to do.
10:47 David Blackmon: Yeah absolutely. All right, well tomorrow we have another fantastic topic. We’ve had some riveting ones multilingual accessibility what are we going to talk about. Tomorrow helpful software, software to use when creating social content. That’s a big job, it’s a lot of work to do. So if you can programmatically solve a lot of those problems we’re going to talk about it tomorrow. Tim until tomorrow we’ll see you then
11:20 Tim Strifler: Take care, bye.
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