Top 5 Ways To Keep Your Website Accessible

1. Follow W3C standards

Just like each of us has our own handwriting style, so mark-up language can develop a number of quirks over the years and mis-align from best practice over time too. Yet, just like handwriting, the ability to write in your best style brigs out your best work. So concentrate and code in accordance with W3C and you will reap the benefits.

2. Use ALT tags on all images

You will be amazed how many people actually have images switched off on their browser and then there are the millions who are visually impaired. All that time you or your colleagues spend crafting perfect eye-candy and they may not even be seen. In fact, often the images are very fundamental to the message of a page and without them all of that is lost. Here the ALT tag is your friend and spending a few seconds completing it every time will be productive in the long run.

3. It’s not Flash to be Flash anymore

Sure there are ways of viewing Flash on iPads and other incompatible mobile devices, but 1) that puts a barrier up and requires your customer to be really committed to looking at your site and 2) these devices are so widely used that the majority of those users have no idea how to over-come their Flash deficiencies. Use it at your peril as you could be cutting off the majority of your potential audience.

4. Be responsible and be responsive

Remember when they said the portable e-reader would never take off? Have you been on public transport recently? Just because it is new or rather different from the norm does not mean you should shy away from it. Responsive design is actually very easy to grasp once you get into the routine. Sure it sometimes needs a bit of mathematics but in the long run surely even that is better than having to design several versions of the same sort of website. Responsive design is what responsible web designers use, it’s better for the customer making their experience improved, it’s better for the client promoting a progressive approach to things and its also likely to be cheaper for them in the long run.

5. Don’t forget white space

You know when you walk into a hospital and it’s clinically white, it impresses first time doesn’t it? It immediately suggests care has been taken over its appearance. The same is true about a website that boasts white space. It immediately becomes more crisp and appealing, not only for the visually impaired but for every visitor.

Keeping accessibility high on your list is a PR tool, SEO tool and content management rolled into one. Without complying with basic rules you could be limiting your audience, minimising any potential impact you are looking to have. Keep the principles at the heart of your design and your audience reach should improve.

Tim Fuell only joined the Webfusion team last year but having been a customer of the group for more than 10 years, he knew all about their success in the Web hosting field. After writing his Masters thesis on the threat of cybersquatting way back in 1998, he has seen the Internet grow beyond even his wildest dreams. A journalist for over 16 years and a qualified Solicitor, Tim is one of a team of bloggers in the Webfusion stable aiming to educate, inform and assist their online readership.