Web Accessibility & Usability: Beginners Guide
Monday, March 26, 2018
Posted by: Gary Hotze
Nick Goodrum, Director of Front End Development, Americaneagle.com
Website accessibility is a hot topic at the moment, and it’s looking likely that issues surrounding accessibility will continue to become more and more critical.
Luckily, accessibility and usability often go hand in hand. In fact, by making your site accessible, it’s very likely you’ll improve the user experience in many ways.
What is Usability?
Usability refers to the ease of use and learnability of how users interact with interfaces and websites. Usability can be measured in terms of:
• Effectiveness – Are users able to complete tasks and achieve their goals?
• Engagement - Is the interface engaging by being pleasant, desirable and satisfying to use?
• Error Tolerance – How many errors do your members make? Can they recover from these errors?
• Easy to Learn – Can your constituents learn how to accomplish basic tasks quickly and easily?
What is Accessibility?
Web accessibility refers to the inclusive practice of removing barriers that prevent interaction with, or access to websites, by people with disabilities.
When sites are designed, developed and edited with accessibility in mind, all users have equal opportunity to access information and functionality.
Section 508 and ADA were both set up to help reduce barriers for people with disabilities.
Who Needs to Make Their Site Accessible?
Everyone. Financial Institutions, Government, Education and Hospitality sites are often more prone to accessibility complaints and potential litigation, but users with disabilities need to use the web and access all sites, just like other users. In fact, services like online banking can be hugely beneficial to those with and without disabilities. However, if a banking or credit union site is not designed with accessibility in mind, it can mean that those that could benefit from it most aren’t able to take advantage of it.
With almost one in five Americans living with a disability, making your site accessible can increase your user base and make life easier for countless individuals.
What Makes a site Accessible and, or Usable?
There are many ways to improve site accessibility and usability. Some of these methods include:
• Using sufficient color contrast
• Easy navigation, including fewer menu options
• Including a clear call to action
• Simplicity in design
• Use of hero images (instead of difficult to use carousels)
• Visual consistency
• Subtitles and audio descriptions for videos
• Alternative text for images / text-based images
Benefits of Focusing on Accessibility
Focusing on accessibility and making your site usable to all types of users will also give websites a lot of potential benefits:
• Increase SEO
• Increase your user base
• Increase your rate of conversion
• Reduce your bounce rate
• Result in a higher number of returning members
• Result in higher chances of meeting international standards
• Bring you peace of mind
• And actually, help all of your users
For more information on accessibility, click here to download Americaneagle.com’s free resource, eaglevision Magazine, focusing on accessibility.