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  • Mordy Oberstein

Don't Undervalue Accessibility





Jess James on the SEO Rant Podcast

Accessible Websites Are Easier Than You Might Think: Summary of Episode #12


Jess James joins the podcast to share her thoughts on making your website accessible:


  • Why accessibility is more important than you think

  • Why creating an accessible site is not as hard as you think

  • What you may not be considering when thinking about accessibility



Resources:


Jess James Twitter

Erudite's Top Accessibility Pitfalls




Exploring Website Accessibility: A Conversation with Jess James


Jess, and her employer, Erudite, did a bit of study to see how common it was to find websites that are accessible. While you might expect sites to be lacking in some sort of complex aspect of accessibility, Jess found the opposite to be true. It was the easier aspects of accessibility that sites were forgetting about.


To put this into perspective, Jess points out that if you don't create an accessible site you are losing out on 17% of your audience (and that's just the in the UK). Making your site accessible, as noted in Jess' findings doesn't have to be hard. In fact, according to Jess sites do well with the more complex issues around accessibility. It's the smaller issues such as proper use of headers or color contrast that sites leave to the wayside.


Accessibility is actually more far-reaching than many of us think. Take language itself. Let's assume your website is in English, but are all of your site users native English speakers? While they might understand English, will they understand all of the idioms you use? It's worth really understanding what accessibility really means because it might be more applicable to you than you might think.


One last accessibility mistake Jess sees has to do with forms. The auto-readers out there will read the fields in forms as "blank form field" each time. The problem is that the heading of the form fields won't necessarily align unless you properly structure the HTML. In other words, while a reader can see that the first blank field clearly correlates with the header "Name" (and so forth) an auto-reader might not read the form in a way that audibly connects the header and the field.


The point of the story is... accessibility is not only really important but it's not as hard to optimize for as you might think!