Digital accessibility: website for all

Photo Written by Gijs de Rooij

Digital accessibility is becoming increasingly important, and that's a good sign. After all, it is not at all obvious that anyone can read your website, let alone understand it. To make it manageable for everyone within the Dutch population, digital accessibility is being looked at more and more strictly. In this blog we give you some useful tips to create digital accessibility on your website.

What is digital accessibility?

About 35% of the Dutch population has some form of disability that makes it difficult for this group to visit, read or understand traditional websites. That translates to millions of Dutch people. A much larger group than you might think beforehand. These disabilities range from partially sighted to deaf and colorblind to autistic or motor impaired. Digitally accessible websites, mobile applications or other digital channels are also easily accessible for these people with disabilities.

Guidelines for digital accessibility

The Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) were created to provide equal opportunities for all inter-users and digital accessibility guarantee. These guidelines outline how Web sites should be created and designed to ensure that they are accessible to all, regardless of their limitations. The guidelines come in three levels, with increasing degrees of difficulty: A, AA and AAA. For websites of the Dutch (semi-)government the requirements at levels A and AA are mandatory.

Provide text alternatives to images and audio

It is important to provide text alternatives to images and audio. This measure makes it easier for people with visual or hearing impairments to access and use the website. Namely, do you use only images? Then it is almost impossible for someone who is visually impaired to navigate through your Web site. The same goes for audio. Someone who is hard of hearing will find it difficult to navigate a website that is full of audio. A text-based alternative offers a solution. Avoid PDF files, however. These are often difficult to open or unreadable.

Work with sufficient contrast

Working with sufficient color contrast between text and background is very important for the digital accessibility of your website. After all, many people have difficulty distinguishing colors. Did you know that the Netherlands has as many as 700,000 colorblind people and more than 200,000 visually impaired people?

The guidelines therefore require website owners to use a color contrast ratio between text and background of at least 4.5 to 1 for regular text and 3 to 1 for large text (font size 18 or higher). This is also the international standard. It may sound like higher math, but you can always outsource this to 2manydots. We make sure that both the text and the graphic elements on your website comply with this.

Keyboard friendly

A keyboard friendly website is essential for digital accessibility. This results in people with physical disabilities, think motor impairment or the elderly, being able to use the website without a mouse. You can make your website keyboard friendly by making all interactive elements such as buttons and links clickable using only a keyboard.

Your website should be easy to navigate

A user can always easily navigate an accessible website. This leads to a positive effect in ease of use. A user is on your website with a purpose. He or she is looking for certain information. A long search through your website leads to negative experiences. But when a user can easily navigate through your website, they find the information they were looking for faster and the ease of use increases.

Use clear and plain language

Difficult and unclear language prevents the message from getting across properly to your visitors. Clear and plain language makes the information on your website easy to read by a wide audience. This in turn ensures that your website is accessible.

Have text read aloud

With a handy plug-in on your website, you offer users the possibility to have text in all kinds of languages read aloud by a lifelike voice. The visitor does not need any software or system requirements. This handy functionality works on all devices. This is not only convenient for visually impaired users, but also takes into account people on the road or when you can't find your reading glasses.

Requirements for government

The call for digital accessibility has begun in government. The government has made all public facilities accessible to all citizens. You should be able to go in anywhere with a wheelchair because public facilities should be accessible to everyone. According to the government, the same applies to digital facilities. Computers and the Internet have such an impact on our lives that we can't really live without them. You therefore disqualify a large group of Dutch people when websites and mobile applications do not meet digital accessibility requirements.

Your digitally accessible website?

Digital accessibility automatically leads to higher visitor numbers, and the likelihood of those visitors returning also increases significantly. We have now provided some useful tips, but digital accessibility encompasses so much more. Do you find it difficult to apply all these tips to your website yourself or would you like more useful tips? Contact 2manydots today and we will get to work on the accessibility of your website.

Gijs de Rooij Copywriter
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