Making your website accessible is a responsibility you shouldn’t ignore. You have to make sure that everyone, including those with disabilities or impairments, can easily navigate your website and understand and absorb information. Not only does this give you the opportunity to reach a wider audience, but it also allows you to be compliant with important regulations and guidelines — specifically, the Website Content Accessibility Guidelines.
According to the Website Accessibility Initiative, to meet the Website Content Accessibility Guidelines, your website should be:
- Perceivable – It should be presentable to the users so that they can see and read your content in ways they can perceive. This includes providing captions, audio descriptions, sign language, optimizing color and texts, and more.
- Operable – Your website’s overall user interface should be smooth and easy. This includes navigation, keyboard, section headings, labels, and more.
- Understandable – This means all texts in your website should be readable and understandable. Check unusual words or jargon, abbreviations, the reading level, and input assistance.
- Robust – Your website should also have plugins or additional features or tools that will help users with disabilities.
It’s a good thing that you can utilize free website accessibility tools that will help you configure and optimize your whole website. From texts to images, to various other elements of a page, these can pinpoint parts where you can improve and strive to be more accessible. Here are some of them:
Accessibility Management Platform (AMP)
This web-based platform by SSB BART Group evaluates web and PDF accessibility through automated, guided, manual, and functional testing. AMP also generates reports and provides scalable solutions and step-by-step evaluation guides. These can be used to prioritize web accessibility efforts so that your website meets standards and guidelines.
Fangs is known as the Screen Reader Emulator. This Mozilla Firefox Plugin creates a text representation of a webpage similar to how a screen reader would read it. This can be used to see a reader’s point of view first hand so that you can revise the content and apply assistive technology for users with disabilities.
Available on both Chrome and Firefox, WAVE Toolbar is a browser extension that allows you to evaluate your website’s content for any accessibility issue. It can check intranet, password-protected, dynamically generated, or sensitive web pages. WAVE also ensures 100% private and secure accessibility reporting since it runs directly as a plugin for your browser.
FreeTranscriptions is a free transcription service that allows you to generate automated transcripts using advanced audio transcription software. With this kind of tool, you’ll be able to generate texts such as captions, full transcriptions, and audio descriptions for the non-text media on your website.
Bookmarklets for Accessibility Testing
NoCoffee is a Chrome extension that allows you to layer filter-like simulations of visual impairments over any webpage. With this tool, you can easily see for yourself how visually-impaired people will perceive your website. You can then use the information to adjust and optimize your website so that visually-impaired users will have no trouble viewing and interacting with it.
Try using these website accessibility tools to analyze your current website at no additional cost. With tools like these, you can easily make your website more welcoming and convenient for all kinds of users.