If you read our article on ADA and web accessibility, then you have a pretty good understanding of the basics of ADA and web accessibility.
You’re even privy to the ins and outs of ADA and website design. So let’s talk about how having an ADA compliant website can benefit your business.
Your business most likely has a website. You (hopefully) put effort into making that website physically appealing as well as user-friendly. After all, you want that number one spot in a potential client’s Google search.
Generally, the higher you rank in the search, the more traffic you get. Having an accessible website actually goes hand-in-hand with Search Engine Optimization (SEO).
Just by following SEO best practices – such as page speed, user experience, and optimized content – you’re already going in the right direction for ADA compliance. Remember, being accessible is good for everyone.
In our last article about ADA and website design, we briefly mentioned screen readers and refreshable Braille Displays. You might be wondering, what exactly are they?
Screen readers are technological assistive devices. They have the ability to convey what the text displayed on the computer screen is. This way, someone with a visual impairment can process the information. This comes in one of two forms, – or sometimes both – tactile or auditory.
Some screen readers work by having speech feedback. This text-to-speech engine is verbally able to translate information on the screen.
A screen reader can also provide information in Braille. A refreshable Braille display is necessary for this function.
Having a website that is compatible with these devices is one step towards ADA compliance.
Three Ways ADA Compliance and SEO Work Together
Title tags are important for user experience. Even though they don’t appear as visual elements on a website, they let the visitor and the search engine know what the page is about. For example, if someone searches for “best laptop,” the phrase “best laptop” will appear in the title tag.
For ADA purposes, a specific title tag such as the one above, which is good for SEO, is also beneficial for ADA because it is more user friendly. If your title tag accurately depicts the content of the page, it’s a win-win for both SEO and ADA compliance because it allows users to easily figure out whether or not the context on the web page is relevant to their search and their needs.
Descriptive Image Alt Text
Descriptive image alt text, also known as image alt tag, is the copy that describes the image. It is written in the webpage’s HTML source code, and it’s important to be specific about the image by using descriptive keywords. Good alt text will help whatever search engine used understand what the images and webpage are about. This can lead to increased chances of your images appearing in search results.
This is important for accessibility because people who are visually impaired can use their screen reader to help them understand the image.
Heading tags (H1, H2, H3, etc) in HTML provide information on the hierarchy of a webpage. Make sure you have them in an order that makes sense. If you have a structured hierarchy that has an even flow, it’s easier for Google to crawl your content, in terms of SEO.
For visually impaired readers, or readers with cognitive impairments, having an order that makes sense and is concise and creates an easier experience. People might skip and scroll through content – a screen reader has the ability to do this as well.
Make Sure You Have A Clean Design
The above examples are few of many ways to make sure you have an accessible website that is simple for all users to navigate.
You’ll want to avoid small and difficult to read typefaces, have clear and consistent navigational tools, and have a good contrast. Clickable/tappable elements, such as buttons, shouldn’t be too close together.
Not only will you ride high on the SEO wave, but it’ll make your business more inclusive and accessible.