responsive web design

When you design a web page, it’s out there for the whole world to see. And, that means you should create your website so that as many people as possible actually can see it. We’re talking about accessibility—it’s something that many companies forget about when it comes to web design for Toronto businesses.

If you have normal vision, you may not consider the fact that others don’t see web pages exactly the same as you do. The truth of the matter is, however, that the broader your audience becomes the more inclusive you need to make your web design. And, that means designing with an eye toward a visually accessible website. According to W3.org, creating an accessible website is a part of the other considerations that strengthen your business’s reach, such as responsive web design and search engine optimization (SEO).

What can you do to ensure that everyone who visits your page is able to see your vision? It’s actually not too hard, and we’ve compiled a list of simple steps for making your website more accessible to visually impaired visitors.

Include alt text for images.
Alt text is short for alternative text, and it’s something you should normally include in the markup code for any visuals you put on your website. Why is alt text so important? Well, many users who can’t see well enough to view a web page utilize software that reads the pages to them. When you include alt text, their reading software will also tell them what kinds of visuals are on the page by reading your descriptions of the images. The markup should include a simple explanation of the image. For example, the logo at the top of this page might have this markup: <img src=“logo.png” alt=“TenPoint Solutions logo”>.

Use contrasting colours.
The traditional look of black text on a white background is the easiest set of contrasting colours for anyone to read. Contrast simply means the colours stand out against each other rather than looking similar. Green text on a blue background, for instance, can be nearly impossible for many people to read. Viewing your website should be a pleasant experience. Visitors won’t stay long if they have to struggle to get any information. The best choices are a dark text on a white or lightly coloured background or white text on a dark background.

Don’t make users squint.
Choosing a font size and style for designing your website is not the same as choosing the font for typing a letter. Device screens come in all different shapes and sizes, so you want to make sure that you choose a font that is large enough to be seen on a variety of screens. Additionally, you’ll want to consider the visual impact on your page. If you have background photography, a simpler font style may be the best way to go for readability. Keep in mind that text on a screen is harder on visitor’s eyes than the text on a piece of paper, so don’t judge by what you would use for printing a document.

Use considerate linking habits.
As with images, visually impaired users are not going to “see” the links on your page. If they are using screen reading software, it will read the linked text and indicate that it is a link. However, the software may not always read the link in the context you imply through your web setup. It’s reading links that are found within body text, on site maps, and in images. The easiest way to avoid confusion and get your links clicked is to simply include more of the text in the link. For instance, instead of making a link that reads, “Click here”, extend the linked text to say, “Click here to find out more about SEO.” That way, if the link is read out of context, the user still knows whether the link is useful.

Making your site more accessible is valuable to both you and your users. Taking the time to create a site that’s a little easier to navigate for visitors with unique browsing styles makes them automatically appreciate your business. They can get the information easily without confusion and having to interpret what they encounter. That means the customer is happy and you’re more likely to convert a lead. For help making your own Toronto web design more accessible, talk now to our expert team at TenPoint Solutions!

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DanO