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#MyFriendAlexa - How To Make Your Blog Accessible?

How To Make Your Blog Accessible  - Vibhu & Me
So far, my two posts on accessibility might have given you a fair idea why we should care about accessibility. The first blog throws light on the meaning of accessibility, and the second post explains a common accessibility issue present in most of the blogs. Accessibility gives wings to those special people among us, who are struggling hard to make their identity. Living a life with any sort of disability is really tough, but thanks to technology things are improving. With technical aspect, accessibility needs human regard as well, where we all give our contribution in making this world accessibility for specially-abled people. That is why I have dedicated my posts of #myfriendalexa series to digital/wed accessibility.

I hope by now you want to include Everyone as your readers with making your blog accessible. You want to enhance the way you are designing your posts. You even know web accessibility is good for search engine optimization (SEO). Yes, this is true. But you are bewildered. You are too busy. You don’t know where to start. I understand that. If you want to know what changes you need to implement on your blog to include everyone within your niche regardless of disability, I can help you. Please go through below points:
  1. Don't forget to give title and alt text to your blog images. Accessibility says every non-text content should have a text alternative that serves the equivalent purpose.  Also, don't shove the blog with text-heavy images. Screen readers can't read what is written in that image. My previous post of the series has explained it in detail. 
    Text heavy image - Vibhu & Me
    (An example of text heavy image)
    (Image credit to its owner)
  2. We often put links/hyperlinks in our blogs. For example, "click here to visit my parenting posts". In this sentence, we often make click here a clickable link. But, as per accessibility rules, this link text (click here as per example) does not clearly define the purpose of moving from the current page to other. It rather says provide link text that identifies the purpose of the link without needing additional context. So, make the complete sentence a link.  Also, don't put so many links on your homepage, especially at the top menu. Disabled people find it very confusing. And if a homepage has so much of scrolling, it also creates frustration for people depended on screen readers. 
  3. People with a disability of motor skills find it very difficult to navigate on screen if the clickable area is very tiny. Hyperlink on a single word is one such example. For persons who do not use a mouse, using the computer is a little different experience. And those who don't have hands or have issues with the hand motion, they use some sort of stick to press keyboard keys. If the clickable area is very small, it gets difficult to locate it and then finally press it. Thus, clickable area should be wide enough to target.
  4. Please don't use auto-start audio/video/flash content in the post. Just after reaching a page, if the multimedia starts automatically, this makes specially-abled users go mad. And if you really want to have auto-start thing, give an option to stop it.  Ensure that any moving, blinking or scrolling information that starts automatically, if lasts for more than five seconds, should provide a method for users to pause, stop, or hide it. Do you know those self-running, sparkling banners on e-commerce websites can cause fits for persons with epilepsy!! 
  5. I have seen many blogs in which the default font of the text is very small. For reading anything digital, the font really matters. And for the elderly audience and for low vision people, the font becomes even more important. If the default font of any post is small, low vision people rely on browser zoom. However, zoom comes with its own side effects. At times, zooming screen distorts the whole layout of the page making it even more difficult to read with so much scrolling. Thus having a minimum text size set (13 px in general) for the posts will reduce the number of users who need to make use of browser-based text resize or page zoom. 
I hope these points are not much of the technical details. I tried my best to explain accessibility issues without using any technology specific term. Howbeit, if you are unclear about any point, please let me know. I will assist you for sure. In my next post, I will come with a few more good-to-have accessibility fixes that we can apply in our blogs.

The internet can be a great enabler and source of freedom for specially-abled people. And for aging audiences as well for whom accessibility works as a strong and always available supporter. Hence we should contribute in making the web world accessible for them with adapting to accessibility standards. Let us all help in building this digital world for Everyone.

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Comments

  1. Another informative post. Usually in Pinterest we load information with heavy text but forget about accessibility. also, auto start videos are major pain for readers. It must be frustrating for specially abled readers .

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