Karlie Kloss ran a massive ad for Wix on YouTube in mid-2017.
Seriously – this thing was popping up to what seemed like millions of viewers. In fact, since YouTube is home to one of the most clicked search boxes in the world, if you’re a YouTube viewer, you very well may have seen the ad. It was short, it was informational, and it essentially walked viewers through the process of creating a website using Wix.
With simple click-to-create website building services such as Wix, spinning up a personal site can be as simple as choosing a layout and playing drag and drop with images and text.
However, while creating a simple site in itself may be easy, one major aspect of creating a good site that Karlie (and Wix!) did not touch on is web accessibility; or the ability for all people – especially those with disabilities – to access a website. Accessibility is important because, in addition to it being mandatory by law, it affects site conversions. In fact, with over 15% of American adults having auditory trouble, and 10% having vision trouble (thanks CDC for the data!) it is important to make your website as accessible as possible to ensure that your unique brand, voice, and message is getting through to all audiences.
To check if you have a truly accessible website, ask yourself questions like these when creating it. Hint: This means ensuring that you can answer “Yes, I do this” to these questions with not just your standard computer screen, but also on screens of different sizes, resolutions, orientations, and bandwidth.
Spacing & Text
Are margins, text, paragraphs, and even words themselves spaced out clearly, uniformly, and organized? Does your text wrap on your webpage well, and is image padding done in a way that it’s easy to differentiate images from text and is not distracting? How do all of these things look from a mobile view, a full-screen desktop view, and a projector screen view?
For text, is it easy to see what the text is saying? Are words overcrowded, or type difficult to read? Did you choose a font that is large enough and clear enough for readers to take in the information? Is the color contrast between text and background strong enough to be clearly visible?
How well can site users navigate through your website—is it easy to get to pages or links? If users don’t have arrow keys, are they still able to scroll with a mouse? Does the screen move to accommodate viewers if they want to look at the site in portrait versus landscape mode? Can users find the things that they’re looking for?
Does your site offer accommodation for users with specific disabilities? Are users able to view videos with sibtitles or closed captions, or know what pictures that aren’t rendering correctly should look like based on captions? Can the reds and greens of your site be differentiated by color blind site users? Is zoom enabled to allow for motor skill or vision needs?
Have you tried out your site to make sure it can be easily accessed and used? Did you practice using the site with limited access to test out the kinks, such as moving through the site with zoom enabled? Can you easily read through your site’s text and see your site’s images? Can you imagine anyone being able to interact with your site and easily carry out the call to actions?
If you were able to answer these questions with a confident “Yes!”, that’s great– we’d love to hear your accessibility tips and tricks below! If some of your answers were “No”, or a less-than-confident “erm, maybe?”, you might want to look into resources such as websites like W3C (which has an especially good rundown of web content accessibility guidelines!) and webaim.org, or tools mentioned in blog pieces from shopify and dynomapper (more developer-based). These resources can help you better understand or test for accessibility, therefore helping you create a stronger and more accessible site.