What is accessibility? According to W3C, web accessibility refers to how easily those with disabilities can use the Internet. Or, to be more specific, it means, “…people with disabilities can perceive, understand, navigate, and interact with the Web, and that they can contribute to the Web.”
Even more, I’d say it’s recognizing that people with all different types of disabilities access the Internet and want to have a pleasant experience. It means optimizing your site to be enjoyed by the largest number of people possible.
With WordPress, designing for accessibility shouldn’t be all that difficult. You have all the tools you need at your disposal to make it happen. But you’d be surprised by how subtle things can make such a big difference for those using screen readers or other assistive devices.
What Makes a Site Accessible?
While there are a lot of details that go into a fully accessible website, a few broad criteria must be met.
The following are the key components that go into site accessibility:
Use Good, Clean HTML
You should be doing this anyway, but solid HTML structures make websites more accessible. By using all the proper header tags, bulleted lists, alt tags, title tags, and meta descriptions, you’re telling visually impaired visitors what everything is and where everything is on the page. You’re also making it easier for screen readers to pick up the content and read it.
Offer Text Alternatives for Everything
Part of this is good HTML, still, but it also has to do with understanding that not every visitor is going to be able to see your fancy graphics and videos. It’s fine to include multimedia items (it’s encouraged, in fact) but doing so without providing adequate descriptions and alternatives results alienating an entire group of potential visitors.