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Expand Your Audience: 10 Small Business Website Design Tips for Better Accessibility

Approximately 61 million Americans live with some form of disability. Many of which can inhibit internet use.

There are individuals with learning difficulties, visual impairments, hearing loss, and more. Thus inaccessible web designs hinder millions of people from an easy online experience.

Having an accessible website helps you enhance your brand’s awareness. Don’t worry; web accessibility won’t hurt the aesthetics.

And here’s the good news, accessibility isn’t difficult to put in place!

Do you wish to expand your business’ reach and try reaching out to more potential clients? Here are ten small business website design tips for better accessibility.

1. Making It Keyboard-Friendly

Design a website that must work without using a mouse. Many assistive technologies or systems depend on keyboard-only navigation.

Make it possible for users to access all your site’s primary features via a keyboard only. This entails accessing all pages, content, and links, among others.

The Tab key is the usual method of navigating using a keyboard. It will jump between sections on a page that can have keyboard focus. Such areas include links, form, and buttons.

The aim is to ensure that the user can access all navigation and content using Tab. It is quite simple to test it by using your own website without a mouse. If some elements are inaccessible or find difficulty in navigating, highlight such issues, and address them.

2. Ensuring All Content Is Easily Accessible

Make sure all content on a page is actually accessible. Usually, this is not a problem unless a page contains dynamic content.

Dynamic content can change without the page reloading. For example, a newspaper’s homepage might keep updating and bringing new information on significant events.

Many assistive systems will only get the first information. Thus, the user will miss out on the new content.

You need a way to make the user aware of changes or shifts. One method is by using ARIA landmarks. They are tags you add to dynamic content to clearly define it on a page.

Tag the content as a live region. Thus enabling devices such as screen readers to understand the material as it updates.

ARIA is also effective in making navigation more effortless. It allows the user to skip directly to specific content.

The user doesn’t need to use the Tab key through every menu item. Users can easily access the significant content and pass over other link-heavy areas.

You can also achieve the same using skip-to-main links. These are invisible links that allow users to skip menus. ARIA functions more efficient and flexible.

3. Selecting the Colors Carefully

Approximately 300 million people live with color blindness in the world. Again, different individuals perceive colors in their own unique ways.

Ensure the color you choose on your small business website design contrast well. This allows everyone to differentiate between various features on the screen.

The most vital issue is making sure any text stands out against your website’s background. Usually, setting a dark color against a light one is the best method.

It ensures that the two colors don’t bleed into each other. For example, you may want to use a blue scheme. Avoid designing a palette with similar shades, either in saturation or hue.

4. Utilizing Headers to Structure Your Content Properly

Using headers will help the user quickly understand the content. It improves the flow of the website’s material.

Headers will also allow screen readers to interpret your pages.  Thus, the user can skip to areas they find interesting. It becomes simpler to offer in-page navigation.

You can easily do this by ensuring you utilize the correct heading levels in your material. For page titles use H1 and then subheading should be H2. You can nest further with H3 then H4.

Remember to follow the order well. Don’t use H4 directly after H2 or H1.

Utilizing meaningful and distinct page titles is important. This is because it makes it simpler for users relying on your HTML markup to follow the content.

5. Only Use Tables for Tabular Data

Tables are essential when displaying data. They help all users, even those using assistive systems, to easily read and understand a large amount of data.

To make your business website design more accessible, ensure you keep your tables simple. It’s also best to avoid utilizing tables for anything except tabular data. This is because it might be confusing for screen readers and other devices.

6. Avoiding Automatic Navigation and Media

An automatically-playing media file is an issue regarding accessibility because it can be challenging figuring out how to turn off the media when using a screen reader.

It can be annoying, especially when the viewer can’t easily turn off the media. It’s best to avoid including features that start automatically. Let the user decide whether to view content or not.

Again, avoid automatic navigation like sliders or carousels. Carousels or slideshows display a collection of elements one at a time.

Slideshows can be frustrating for the user.  Sometimes they move on to the next section before the viewer absorbs all the information.

But you can make them accessible by allowing the user to pause the movement.  Also, make all users, including screen reader users aware of any changes to sliders items. All functionality between carousel elements must be keyboard-friendly.

7. Keeping Your Material Simple and Clear

An accessible small business web design entails straightforward content. All users can enjoy this, including the elderly and those with learning disabilities.

Use straightforward language, short sentences, smaller paragraphs, and active voice. Remember to write acronyms in full.

Ensure you give your links unique anchor text and descriptive names.  It’s also essential to know your audience and get to understand their needs.

If you use videos regularly, try to offer subtitles and transcriptions. Subtitles are helpful to users, especially those with hearing loss. Make your content readable and approachable for everyone.

8. Adding Alt Text to All the Images

Alt text or tags are the little words that pop up when hovering over an image with your mouse. Screen readers can read aloud the alt tags. This ensures the user knows what an image contains.

Also, improve your website’s SEO with alt text. It’s important to write descriptive summaries of every image. Include keywords where possible.

9. Small Business Website Design with Accessible Forms

Forms are essential but ensure you design them carefully. Make sure you label every field well. Also, try to put the labels next to the respective fields.

If you don’t match the labels clearly, screen reader users might find it hard to understand. Transparently offer information and instructions.

The Benefits of Accessibility

The American with Disabilities Act (ACT) has a set of website standards. This ensures businesses make their websites accessible to people with disabilities.

View for more to learn about ADA standards. Here’s a list of the advantages of having an accessible site.

Expands the Audience

It helps you reach the millions of customers with accessibility needs. This is a significant number of clients that you can’t afford to miss.

Helps Improve the SEO

ADA standards are closely associated with SEO practices. Search engines seek out many contents and easy navigations.

Utilizing alt tags improves your SEO. The only challenge is ensuring you keyword usage meets both the disability accessibility needs and the SEO needs.

Benefits All Your Potential Customers

Having an accessible website eases the process for everyone. All users will enjoy visiting a website which has ease of navigation. It’s an advantage when the users can understand all the information your site offers.

Improves Your Brand’s Awareness

Accessibility helps you achieve a broad audience that can understand your entire website’s content. In the process, it boosts your brand’s awareness.

Avoid Expensive Lawsuits

Litigations can waste your money and time. They end up damaging your reputation or might even force you to shut your operations entirely.

Website accessibility litigations are on the rise, and it’s an issue affecting all business sectors. Such litigations are not new; they began way back in 2000.

Keep in mind that all businesses are potential targets. As a small business owner, you might think you’re safe from these litigations.

Lawyers find such a mindset as an easy target. You might not have millions, but a quick settlement can damage your business.

The most affected businesses are e-commerce, hospitality, banking, dining, and medical. Currently, no business is exempt, whether small or big.

10. Allowing Resizable Text Without Breaking Your Site

Most browsers and devices allow users to resize text. This is beneficial for those with visual impairments.

But if you don’t develop your website to support the feature, resizing text makes it hard to interact with your site. Also, it could break your design.

The best method is to avoid absolute units. Try not to use pixels to specify text size. Utilize relative sizes which allow the text to scale according to the screen size or other content.

Try these small business website design tips and improve your company’s image. You can implement most of them on your own. Check out our blog for more articles that can help improve your small business.