Some websites unknowingly neglect a percentage of their viewing population during the website design process. For seniors and disabled individuals, navigating and understanding a website and its content can be a challenge. Some simple changes can help make your website more user-friendly for all, driving more traffic to your website.
Here are two major tips to improve your website, making it more senior and disabled friendly, and more versatile for all internet users:
Create alternative ways to access the information
Creating alternative text for a website’s content is a simple way to improve a website’s accessibility.
People with visual impairments can have a difficult time interpreting an image or video on a website. Often, they use screen readers to help decipher the information on the page. The alternative text added to an image is read aloud and can be the only way for them to know what the image is.
Screen readers also depend on the periods within abbreviations, like U.S.A. If the periods are neglected, the reading tools won’t pick up on the intended abbreviation and misinform the user of the content.
When uploading a PDF, it is important to also create a text format alternative for those who use reader tools to access information.
If any of your content uses videos, be sure to include subtitles or create transcripts for those with impairments or those without the ability to hear the audio clips.
Visually impaired individuals rely their screen readers and other tools to interpret the text on the page. It’s important to describe hyperlinks, rather than just inserting them into the page and telling a viewer to “click here.” If you don’t mention where the page leads to and what it will entail, then why should they click your link?
Simplify your website and keep it clean
Seniors and individuals with certain disabilities turn away from complex and unorganized websites with flashing content, and wordy and confusing navigation.
When writing content, break the text into smaller paragraphs. Make your phrasing simple and in the active voice. Have your navigation be structured with a large clickable range. Create simple and easy-to-use search engines or forms that provide clear instructions and error messages to help users correct the information.
Be aware of the color schemes you use when creating your website. Colorblind users won’t be able to differentiate between yellows, blues, and greens used close together. Using different colors to distinguish between visited and unvisited links will help visually impaired individuals. Black text on a white background is a safe general color scheme for most audiences.
It’s important to make sure your text size is larger enough (at least size 12-point font), as well as adjustable. Some users will zoom to 200% to read the content, and the website will need to be adjustable to that. It is recommended to use a sans serif typeface, such as Helvetica or Arial because they are not condensed and are easier to read on the screen.
BBC is a great example of assisting individuals with impairments and disabilities, providing knowledgeable and in-depth how-to-navigate guides. The National Institute on Aging and the National Library of Medicine have created a thorough checklist for making websites more senior-friendly that are also worth checking out.
Be sure to follow these two simple steps to make your website more accessible to all internet users and to drive more traffic to your website.