Nonprofits serve people of all kinds, which means their public-facing (as well as internal-facing) technology tools should accommodate every audience. This concept, known as web accessibility, is something all organizations should read up on right away. This blog article provides a basic introduction to web accessibility and things you can begin to implement as soon as you can.
According to WebAIM, an organization that promotes and reports on web accessibility, 96.8% of the top million websites in their 2022 annual survey had accessibility failures. Understanding what these issues and focus areas are will ensure that we are working with inclusion, diversity, equity, and accessibility (IDEA) in mind. According to recent global reports, there are about 300 million people suffering from some sort of visual impairment or blindness.
One of the challenges we face in building a technology landscape that takes into account access to knowledge, a diverse workforce, and societal fairness is that many online tools, applications, and websites have been developed without accessibility considerations in mind. So, we're already playing with the cards stacked against us.
Some examples of best practices include:
- Ensuring proper and simple access to legal information.
- Using alternative text for images for screen readers. This also helps with search engines. Gov.uk has a great example of screen-reader friendliness and the navigation menus have descriptive names.
- Audio transcripts or read mode for text boxes or publications. There are a number of transcription services that can assist.
- Keyboard input and navigation so people with limited motor functions don't have to rely on a mouse. One great example is from an organization called: Scope.org.uk
- Highlight hovers, contrast, and text magnifiers for the visually impaired.
- Adjustable sizing and spacing for text boxes and widgets.
With greater understanding and knowledge about these issues and solutions, we can continue to grow our online world to be one that includes all of us who want to participate.