A lot of time and thought goes into building a website. Making it visually appealing whilst also intuitive and easy to use is a difficult process. There are a lot of great websites out there though, that manage to look great as well as being functional. Here, we look at some of the tools that can help make your website more assessible to all.
Many websites often overlook those with different needs. What might be a great website to one person may be impossible to use for someone else.
The Disability Discrimination Act has minimised the problem in websites by creating a set of rules that all websites must follow. But accessibility isn’t just an issue with websites, it’s entirely possible that your social media campaigns aren’t catering to everyone’s needs. Here are a few tools that can help you make sure that you make your content accessible to everyone.
YouTube Video Captioning
Videos are an effective tool in any social media campaign, they are extremely shareable and can easily amass a large amount of viewers if they go viral. Unfortunately, a lot of videos are inaccessible to people who are hearing impaired, which is a shame because on YouTube there is a very simple way to avoid this – closed-captioning.
YouTube allows you to upload either a caption, which should contain the text in the video and the time at which it’s said, or a transcript file which only contains the text. If your video is in English then YouTube can automatically sync up the text in the transcript file with your video, making it a simple process. Sadly, Vimeo currently doesn’t offer a captioning option so you’ll have to hardcode subtitles in to your video if you want it to be accessible to people with hearing impairments.
Juicy Studio Readability Test
When you are writing content it’s easy to become bogged down in jargon and overly complicated terms. This can turn what otherwise is great content into an unreadable piece. One way to minimise the problem is by using Juicy Studio’s Readability Test – an online tool that works out how readable your page is.
The test uses multiple algorithms based on the number of words per sentence, average number of syllables and letters per word. These provide a rough guide to how easy it is for people to understand what you have wrote. However, it won’t pick up on jargon or short but obscure words.
Vischeck Colour Blindness Test
Around 1 in 20 people suffer from a colour vision impairment and for those people there are many websites that are difficult to use. To make sure yours isn’t one you can useVischeck to display what your website looks like for colour-blind users.
Vischeck also offers an image correction technique called Daltonization. This alters the colours in images slightly to create an image that is easier to see for colour-blind people. The downside of this is that the image may look unusual for people who are not colour-blind.
There are hundreds of free web access evaluation tools on the internet, each providing roughly the same service. One of the best is WAVE, which analyses webpages and shows you the where there might be accessibility issues for those with different needs.
WAVE highlights issues that can otherwise be easily missed, such as having small text, as well as more complicated things that you might have never thought to look for such as multiple images with the same alt-text. This is all done through a simple interface that makes it easy to isolate and fix an accessibility issues your site may face.
EasyChirp & Easy YouTube
When it comes to your wider social media campaigns there is little you can do to make your campaigns accessible, you’re pretty much reliant on the accessibility of the social network, which sadly tends to be poor.
One thing that you can do is tell your Twitter followers and YouTube subscribers to check out EasyChirp and Easy YouTube. These websites provide a much more accessible version of Twitter and YouTube respectively.
At the moment there is no equivalent for Facebook. The best thing you can do is point your users to Facebook’s accessibility page.
All the tools above are good at helping out and giving you a general feel about how accessible your online presence is, but to really see how accessible you are you need to navigate your site as if you had some different needs.
Turn off your screen and try to make your way around your website with a screen-reader. Put your computer on mute and watch the videos you’ve uploaded. Try and do some simple tasks on your website using just the keyboard. If you can’t manage to do these then the tools above should point you in the right direction.
If you need any more help increasing your accessibility then send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.