6 Simple Ways to Improve Your Web Accessibility

Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links. Purchasing a product through one of these links generates a commission for us at no additional expense to you.

If your website has poor accessibility, many people can’t use it effectively, especially users with disabilities. 

It is not only bad for business; It can get your company sued for violating the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), a law prohibiting discrimination against individuals with disabilities. 

The key to mitigating lawsuits is to make your website accessible to all users and ensure it complies with the ADA. 

While this can be a long and complex process, you can take initial steps, such as using accessible WordPress themes, to begin to improve your website’s accessibility. 

Start with these six practical ways to make your website more accessible. 

1. Run a web accessibility test

Before changing anything, test your website’s accessibility first.

After all, you’ll need to know what to change or refine before making the necessary accessibility adjustments on your site. 

Make sure to use reliable website accessibility checker testing tools.

Simply provide your website’s URL, and the tool will scan your entire website within minutes. 

Then, the tool scores each website element and component, such as forms, graphics, and menus, based on whether these are accessible and compliant. 

You will also receive detailed information about the accessibility guidelines and the specific issues that need remediation.  

A reliable and accurate website accessibility checker makes it quick and easy to spot accessibility errors on your site. 

You’ll know what to tweak exactly, including how to adjust or change specific website elements to kick-start your journey to a site that is more accessible and compliant with the ADA and the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG).  

2. Place crucial interactive elements at the top 

Perform this quick web accessibility exercise: Determine vital user interface controls and hyperlinks that website users require access to within your web pages. 

Then, count the number of times you pressed the Tab key to get to them. 

Did it take a few or too many presses? When pressing Tab, could you see where the focus was on the interface control’s hyperlink? 

If it takes too many presses to get to the hyperlinks and if the focus isn’t visible or highlighted, people who can only use keyboard navigation will have a hard time interacting with your site. 

It makes your site inaccessible, frustrating your visitors, and ruining the user experience. 

To help remediate this, place your interactive elements and essential links at the top or higher on your web pages. 

Doing so allows keyboard-only users to get to their desired links and elements faster and easier. 

3. Make page titles distinct and meaningful

Blind users and those with severe visual impairments use screen reader software, an assistive technology that renders image and text content as braille or speech output. 

Put simply, screen-readers “read” web content for the user. 

The first thing screen reader users typically encounter after a web page finishes loading is the text in between the <title> tags. 

If your web page doesn’t have a title tag or if you use the same one across all your other pages, screen reader users won’t know which page they’re on. 

Screen readers rely on your HTML markup, so visually impaired users can’t navigate your site effectively without proper title tags. 

It can ruin the user experience and contribute to poor web accessibility. 

One solution is to keep your page titles clear and brief to provide descriptions to screen-reader users. 

Use meaningful title attributes to describe where the hyperlink will take screen reader users upon clicking. 

Avoid using a title attribute that is the same as the link text since it won’t provide meaningful descriptions to the user. 

Plus, it can make it harder for screen reader users to find web links on your pages.  

4. Use proper headings

Headings outline your web page, give it a proper structure and break down blocks of texts into logical subsections. These allow visitors to understand and digest your content, making it more accessible. 

Use the appropriate subheadings, such as a Title heading for your title, H1s for the first subheadings, H2s, and so on, to apply a logical structure to your web content. 

Proper sectioning and using heading tags lets screen reader users quickly skip to their desired sections on your website. 

They won’t need to wade through all your content before getting to the sections they want, allowing for seamless accessibility. 

5. Label form elements

It’s crucial to make your HTML web forms accessible since these are the main ways users interact with your website. 

Use the correct markup to ensure an inclusive universal design. Label your form’s input elements with descriptive and meaningful text. 

Doing so makes it clear to visitors, especially screen reader users, the specific information they should provide. 

If you use Cascading Style Sheets (CSS), you can design label elements into icons. You can also hide the label elements from plain view by pushing out the browser viewport (if necessary). 

6. Allow skip navigation 

Screen reader users and people who can only use a keyboard can’t jump to the web page section or information they want. 

For instance, screen reader users must go through the entire HTML document since they can’t scan the web page. 

With skip navigation, screen reader, and keyboard-only users can skip long lists of links to get to the section they want quickly, providing better web accessibility. 

Skip navigation is a link at the top of your web page that users can click or access to display the content section. 

Users can go through the list quickly and skip to their desired content or information without going through your entire website. 

Make your website more accessible 

There are many ways and various complexity levels for making your website accessible. 

While achieving full accessibility doesn’t often happen in a snap, you can start by making simple and initial adjustments. 

Begin your efforts with the tips in this guide, leverage the right web accessibility solutions, and work with experts to ensure your website provides equal access to all users.  

Jimmy Rodela
Jimmy Rodela
Jimmy Rodela is a seasoned freelance writer and content marketer with over 8 years of experience, with work appearing on sites such as Yahoo, Fool.com, Business.com, SEMRush, and SearchEnginePeople. He specializes in digital marketing, small business strategy, marketing automation, and content development.