How to Meet the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 2.0
Own a website? It’s your responsibility to ensure it’s user-friendly for those who are fully abled and for people with disabilities, including visual, hearing, cognitive, and motor impairments. Read on for how to get your website into compliance.
Looking for a quick video tutorial? Check out part 1: Why Is Web Accessibility Important? and part 2: How Do You Achieve Web Accessibility?
If you’re wondering how to meet the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 2.0 (WCAG), it’s first helpful to know they are a set of guidelines for making web content more accessible to people with disabilities. Meeting the guidelines of digital accessibility can help ensure that your website is usable by everyone, regardless of their abilities or disabilities.
There are several steps you can take to meet the WCAG 2.0 guidelines:
Provide alternative text for images and other non-text content
Decorative images and other non-text content should have alternative text (alt text) that describes the content of the image. This allows people who use screen readers to understand the content on your website. Alt text should be descriptive and convey the purpose of the image.
For example, if you have an image of a dog on your website, the alt text could be “A golden retriever playing fetch in a park.” This provides a more complete description of the image than just “dog.”
Use descriptive headings
Headings should accurately describe the content they precede. This makes it easier for people who use screen readers to navigate your site. Headings should be used in a hierarchical manner, with h1 tags used for main headings, h2 tags for subheadings, and so on.
For example, if you have an article about the benefits of exercise, your main heading could be “The Benefits of Exercise,” with subheadings such as “Physical Benefits” and “Mental Benefits.”
Ensure text contrast
Make sure there is sufficient contrast between text and its background. This accessibility standard makes it easier to read for people with visual impairments. The recommended contrast ratio is at least 4.5:1 for normal text and 3:1 for large text (18pt or larger).
For example, if your website has black text on a white background, the contrast ratio meets the recommended guidelines. However, if you have light gray text on a white background, the contrast ratio may be too low for people with visual impairments to read easily.
Use descriptive link text
Link text should accurately describe the destination of the link. This makes it easier for people who use screen readers to understand the purpose of the link. Avoid using generic link text such as “Click Here,” which provides no context when using text to speech tools.
For example, if you have a link to an article about the benefits of exercise, the link text could be “Learn more about the benefits of exercise” instead of “Click Here.”
Provide captions and transcripts for multimedia content
Multimedia content such as videos and podcasts should have captions or transcripts. This allows people who are deaf or hard of hearing to access your multimedia content. Captions should be synchronized with the video and include sound effects and other important audio information.
For example, if you have a video about your company’s products, the video should have captions that accurately reflect the spoken content of the video.
Ensure keyboard accessibility
People who use assistive technologies such as keyboard-only navigation should be able to access all of your website’s content. This means that all functionality should be available using only the keyboard, without requiring the use of a mouse.
For example, if you have a dropdown menu on your website, users should be able to navigate the menu using the keyboard’s arrow keys.
Avoid using flashing or blinking content
Flashing or blinking content can cause seizures in people with photosensitive epilepsy. Avoid using flashing or blinking content on your website.
Use clear and simple language
Use clear and concise language to make it easier for people with cognitive disabilities to understand your content. Avoid using complex sentences, technical jargon, or overly wordy content.
For example, instead of saying “Our product is the ultimate solution for enterprise-level organizations,” you could say “Our product is designed to help large businesses operate more efficiently.”
Provide alternative ways to access content
Provide alternative formats for people who cannot access your content in its original form, such as providing a downloadable PDF of a web page.
Now that you’ve explored how to meet the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 2.0 and when you follow these guidelines, you can make your website more accessible to people with disabilities and ensure that everyone can access your content. There are also automated tools available online to check your website’s accessibility, such as the WAVE tool provided by WebAIM.