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Written by Finn Ruijter, 19 January 2023

Digital accessibility: website for all

Digital accessibility is becoming increasingly important, which is a good sign. After all, it is not at all obvious that anyone can read, let alone understand, your website. 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 that you can use 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 to color blind to autistic or motor impaired. Digitally accessible websites, mobile applications or other digital channels are also easily accessible to 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 ensure digital accessibility. These guidelines outline how Web sites should be created and designed to ensure that they are accessible to everyone, 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-)
the requirements at levels A and AA are mandatory.

Provide text alternatives to images and audio

It is important to provide textual alternatives to images and audio. This measure makes it easier for people with visual or hearing impairments to access and use the website. After all, do you only use images? Then it is almost impossible for someone who is visually impaired to navigate through your website. The same goes for audio. Someone who is hard of hearing has a hard time making their way through a website that is filled with audio. A textual alternative then 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. In fact, 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 graphics on your website meet these requirements.

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 are more likely to find the information they were looking for and ease of use increases.

Use clear and plain language

Difficult and unclear language will not get the message across properly to your visitors. With clear and plain language, the information on your website is easy to read by a wide audience. This, in turn, ensures that your website is accessible.

Having text read aloud

With a handy plug-in on your website, you offer users the ability to have text in a variety of languages read aloud by a lifelike voice. The visitor does not need any further software for this, nor are there any system requirements. So this convenient functionality works on all devices. This is not only convenient for visually impaired users, but it also takes into account people on the go or when you can’t find your reading glasses for a while.

Requirements for government

The call for digital accessibility started in government. The government has made all public facilities accessible to all citizens. You should be able to get in anywhere with a wheelchair because public facilities should be accessible to everyone. According to the government, the same is true for digital facilities. Computers and the Internet have such a big impact on our lives that we really can’t 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 these 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 want more useful tips? Contact 2manydots today and we’ll get to work on your website’s accessibility.