Earlier this year, Big Buzz published an article entitled Is Your Website Among the 98% with Accessibility Issues? shortly following the 10th Global Accessibility Awareness Day (GAAD). The purpose of the article, and GAAD itself, was to raise awareness of common and often overlooked digital accessibility issues that negatively impact the differently abled and their experiences online. It is important for those who own, manage or operate one or more websites to foster equality among all potential visitors and allow them to achieve the same experience and level of value. It is also important to continue discussing and learning more about the issue until meaningful progress is made.
For this reason, we are following up on our previous article by highlighting five additional common mistakes that fall short of ADA guidelines.
- File Names as Alt Text: In our previous piece, we discussed the importance of including alternative (alt) text for every image posted on your website to provide visually impaired visitors the same experience and level of understanding as others. In order to accomplish this, the alt text must describe the image – something that can be lost when programs or platforms auto-generate alt text which can often default to a file name rather than a description. For example, “a smiling patient standing with Dr. Smith” is helpful and descriptive, whereas “Office17.jpeg” is not.
- Missing Page Title Elements: Hierarchical HTML tagging is not just helpful for SEO, it can help visitors who depend on HTML markup to glean the subject matter of a certain page. The page title element should be notated by an H1 tag, for example, <H1>Contact Us</H1>. This clearly indicates the purpose of the page. Some website management programs, such as WordPress, will include a separate text box for the title and automatically ascribe the H1 tag, but it is a good practice to double-check that your titles are properly tagged.
- Multiple Page Titles: Just as a lack of page titles can be confusing for users relying on HTML markup, so too can pages with multiple titles. This can often happen when a header (H2) or sub-header (H3) is mistakenly labeled as H1. Be sure that there is only one H1 element on each page.
- Mouse-Only Commands: In order to achieve ADA compliance, websites must allow visitors to utilize all features and functions with only a keyboard, since not everyone is able to maneuver a mouse. Common examples of this functionality include enabling the Tab key to move forward from one text box to another, Shift + Tab to move to the previous box, and Enter/Return to activate a button.
- Time-Sensitive Redirects: According to Web Content Accessibility Guideline 2.2, automatic redirects from one page to another (or something like an automatic logout feature) must “provide users enough time to read and use content” before redirecting them to accommodate those who may need longer to understand and accept the redirect, such as those with cognitive or mobility impairments or those relying on a screen reader.
By continuing to educate ourselves on the true meaning of digital accessibility and optimizing our websites accordingly, we can bridge the current gap and create a unified experience of online equality.
To learn more or get a free, no-obligation assessment of your current website and/or marketing strategy and how to optimize it to drive ROI today, email our CEO now at firstname.lastname@example.org to get scheduled.
Big Buzz is an agency solving complex marketing problems for the people in senior living, dentistry and healthcare by focusing on what matters most. CEO Wendy O’Donovan Phillips is the author of two books available on Amazon, has been published in Forbes and many healthcare journals and has been quoted in The Washington Post, ABC News and Chicago Tribune. She regularly lectures for healthcare organizations and associations in front of audiences ranging from 25 to 5,000 attendees. She sits on the board of AllHealth Network, which has provided mental health and substance use counseling to people across Denver since 1955. Agency awards and accolades include recognition for excellence by the American Marketing Association, Best Advertising Agency and Best Web Developer in Denver by Expertise, and Top Advertising and Marketing Agency by Clutch.