Simple ways to make your website more accessible
Many people think of accessibility in terms of physical space, like handrails and wheelchair ramps. But accessibility is relevant to online spaces as well. And online accessibility benefits everyone—it doesn’t just help someone who might be disabled, it helps all kinds of people access the news in many ways. It can help the business itself. For example, adding semantic markup around content, which aids those using screen readers, also helps the algorithms that process and rank content for search engines.
In “Accessibility Thinking for Publishers,” Kevin Fodness and Christina Deemer offer concrete ways of improving accessibility with minimal use of code. Their suggestions include:
- Practice inclusivity from the kick-off — for instance, think about colors (high contrast is best) from the beginning
- Do user testing with a diverse audience
- Run a site audit using axe or Google Lighthouse to test for the biggest issues
- Validate your site’s HTML
- Remember to write alt text for contextual images
- Use hierarchical headings
- When linking, describe the content instead of writing “click here”
Dig deeper: Accessibility Thinking for Publishers (2019) — 45-minute webinar
Featured experts: Kevin Fodness, Christina Deemer
Try this, too:
- Shilpa Kumar, software engineer at The New York Times, goes into more technical detail—tab order, ARIA landmarks and more—about how the team makes its site more accessible.
- Regina Mack at the Texas Tribune has a helpful Twitter thread on alt text for social content.
We’re always on the lookout for helpful resources and tips. If you have other examples to share, please reply directly to this email.