Manish Dudharejia is the President and Founder of E2M Solutions Inc, a San Diego Based Digital Agency that specializes in Website Design & Development and eCommerce SEO. With over 10 years of experience in the Technology and Digital Marketing industry, Manish is passionate about helping online businesses to take their branding to the next level.
Accessibility means that websites, tools, and technologies are designed and developed in a way, where people can appreciate, understand, navigate, and interact with the Web, and pitch in to the Web.
Blogging is probably the best way to reach out to your customers and build your brand voice on the internet.
According to a recent HubSpot survey, marketers who prioritize blogging efforts are 13-times more likely to see positive ROI. One of the primary reasons behind the success of blogging is that it allows you to connect with your target audience personally.
However, you need to reach as many readers as possible to make your blog a huge success. Unfortunately, most bloggers miss out on potential prospects as they often forget about web accessibility.
An increasing number of people are considering accessibility as a deciding factor for reading and following a blog. If you want to reach out to more readers, you need to incorporate accessibility into your blog.
Here are a few tips that can help you in this regard.
1. Use Descriptive Links
Descriptive links provide disabled users (like visually-challenged readers) with the right context while finding more information related to a topic. Screen readers will read the URL text for blind readers. A confusing URL, however, will be of no help.
In most cases, the blog post you are linking to will provide you with the proper URL text. For example, if you are providing a link to a post about web designing titled “5 ways to improve your e-commerce web design,” the URL name should be something like -
If you have a product page or something less descriptive, think of using the right words to describe such URLs.
2. Use Appropriate Image Alt Text
Use appropriate text to describe images and other visual media on your blog. When screen readers read out the text, blind or vision-impaired readers should be able to understand what the image is. This description is called Alt Text, which stands for alternative text.
Things to keep in mind while writing Alt text:
- Keep it as short as possible.
- Be informative and precise.
- Use simple words.
- Add the text in the image to the Alt text.
- Avoid spelling and grammar mistakes.
3. Define a Clear Content Headline and Outline
To further increase the readability of your content, define a clear cut outline with crisp headlines for each blog post. To begin with, write perfect H1, H2, H3, and other tags.
Avoid jumping from the H1 tag to the H3 tag directly. Always follow the tagging sequence. Think of these headlines as an outline of your blog pages. The sequence should be such that screen readers can also identify the structure to read it out loud. The increased readability will also help improve your SEO.
Remember, your blog is not a Victorian-era novel. So, there is no need to use long sentences. Write short sentences and use simple words. For example, why use "unornamented" when simply using "plain" will do. Make as much use of bullets, lists, and white space as possible to make your content scannable.
4. Choose the Right Font Size and Style
When it comes to fonts, most blogs are style-driven. However, playing around too much with the style and size of fonts may not sit well with web accessibility. You need to choose the right font size and style to make your blog readable.
Usually, a font with 9-10 pt or 13 pixels in size is easy to read. Also, avoid using fonts that are too stylized or fancy. Use basic true type fonts as far as possible. You should also use flexible fonts that visually impaired readers can enlarge, if required. This simple trick will not only help the visually-disabled, but sighted people as well.
5. Fight shy of Using Instructions like “Click Here” or “Know More”
For most disabled readers, especially the ones relying on screen readers dread the words like "Click Here" or "Know More" or "See This." Why subject your disabled audience to hearing these words over and over again.
If you are using descriptive links and URLs and place them on the right anchor text, there will be no need to use such phrases. Make sure to avoid using them in your posts.
If you have used these terms in your previous posts, replace them with descriptive links immediately. Also, avoid using image links. People with visual disabilities often find it difficult to read them.
6. Pay Attention to Keyboard Navigation
Keyboard accessibility is also a critical element of your blog post. Users with motor disabilities will depend on the keyboard to navigate your blog.
First, you need ADA compliance testing to see how keyboard compatible your blog is. Open your blog and press the Tab key to navigate the site.
Once you have checked your blog, start making the necessary changes. Make sure the DOM (Document Object Model) order matches the visual order of all elements on your blog. You should also add a "Skip to Main Content" or "Skip Navigation” link to help keyboard-only users.
Use native HTML controls to improve keyboard navigation. Avoid using pop-ups. Although you can make them accessible, it's a complicated process. Plus, they also interfere with the readability of your content.
7. Use Audio for CAPTCHA Verification
Captcha verification is a feature most bloggers use to avoid spamming when readers comment or subscribe to their newsletter.
If you are also using this feature, you need to make it accessible by adding an audio option to the captcha. Thus, you will be able to keep your site secure without compromising its accessibility.
Also, make sure to label all your comment sections and forms correctly. Screen readers should be able to easily read them for visually-challenged readers.
8. Use the Right Contrast
Finally, you should use the right color contrast throughout your blog. The AA standard for color contrast is a 4.5:1 ratio between foreground (text and images) and background (white space). Large-scale text and images, however, need a contrast ratio of at least 3:1.
Using the right contrast will help readers with low vision, poor contrast vision, color blindness, and also those using a device with a monochrome display. Avoid using a subtle color palette, such as white text on a pastel background.
Running a blog with web accessibility allows you to reach a broad range of target audiences across the globe. If you haven't made all elements of your blog accessible, now is the time to do it.
Fortunately, making even the smallest changes like using the right font style, color contrast, and content structure can help improve the accessibility of your blog considerably. Hopefully, the above eight tips will make the transition easier for you.
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