You know what they say – you only get one chance to make a first impression! For many of us, our website is the first line of contact a lot of folks brush up against with our brand. Either they follow a link from social media, see us in a chamber of commerce registry, or simply look us up on Google. When folks come to your website for the first time, you always want to put your best foot forward. However, many of us don’t know the ins and outs of making sure our website is accessible to all. In honor of Global Accessibility Awareness Day, we have pulled together some resources to bring you 3 things you can do starting right now to improve the accessibility of your website for all.

First, let’s look at why this is so prevalent and important in today’s world:

GAAD(Global Accessibility Awareness Day)’s home page includes results of a 2024 survey conducted by WebAIM that uses WebAIM’s automated accessibility scanning tool to assess one million of today’s frequently visited home pages across the worldwide web. (source)

The “WebAIM Million” study discovered:

  • There was an average of 56.8 accessibility errors per home page examined, an increase of 13.6% over WebAIM’s 2023 report.
  • 95.9 percent of the one million home pages contained WCAG 2.0 accessibility guideline failures.
  • 81 percent of the one million home pages contained insufficient color contrast.
  • 54.5 percent of the one million home pages contained missing alternative text descriptions of images.
  • 48.6 percent were missing form input labels.
  • 44.6 percent contained empty links.
  • 28.2 percent contained empty buttons.
  • 17.1 percent contained missing language.

The 2024 study found two concerning trends over the past several years:

  1. Home pages are increasingly using low-contrast text (up 13.7% from 2023), making today’s pages more difficult to read.
  2. Home pages are becoming more graphical: There was a 28% increase in the number of images on the one million home pages examined compared to 2023. Moreover, one out of four of the home page images did not contain any associated alternative text descriptions.

For a complete breakdown of the February 2024 “WebAIM Million” data, click here. (source)

You may be able to read your website, but can a screen reader? Can someone with low vision? Is your website accessible  for those with neurodiversity? In this blog, we will talk through 3 things you can check right now to make your website accessible to all.

  1. Color Contrast – this is a must for an accessible website. A lack of contrast can make it almost impossible for some to read your site. Some site crawlers will also rank your content lower on Google if your contrast is not up to standard. There are some great resources for checking your coloring on your website. Coolors is our personal favorite! If you get the hex color values, you can plug them in and it will not only give you a rating, but also give you advice on fonts and sizing as well to help you tailor your content accordingly! It’s an easy fix with a huge payoff for your viewers!
  2. Use ALT text on your images – You may use images on your site in blogs or on pages describing your services, but are you putting descriptions in for screen readers? Screen readers rely on ALT text to give users a more clear idea of what context the image adds to the overall page. it is essential that you are using it to describe any information you want your audience to gain from the picture, graphic, or chart. This may be as easy as going into your content management system and checking whether there is anything in the ALT block. AI has also come leaps and bounds to help with ALT text, and there are online generators you can upload your photos to that will write your ALT text for you! 
  3. Write in Plain Language— It’s important that your content is clear and concise. When you are the subject-matter expert, it’s easy to use industry acronyms and jargon that are familiar to you, but this can make it difficult for the audience to understand your message. There are many online resources like Grammarly that can help you write clearly and concisely. If you need help, plug your content into ChatGPT with the prompt to convert it to Plain Language.  

There are many resources you can use to run deeper accessibility checks like Accessibe, but checking these three small pieces can be a great start!