What’s web accessibility for your nonprofit website? And how can you achieve it? Let’s get digging.
What comes to your mind when building your nonprofit website? Probably how to make it look beautiful, with great images, fast loading, and mobile-friendliness. But is that all there is to a website, especially as a nonprofit? The answer is a big NO.
As a nonprofit, an important consideration when designing your site is the differences between the people that will use it. While some can see images, others cannot. While some can read, others can only consume content through audio, and a lot more differences.
And that’s where web accessibility comes in. Basically, web accessibility involves making your website accessible to a wide range of people – and also giving visitors the option to consume content in different ways. While web accessibility is a good standard for every website out there, your nonprofit website needs it more because as nonprofits, we deal with different people from different backgrounds with different abilities and disabilities.
In essence, web accessibility would require your nonprofit website to meet the needs of all users, including:
- Mobile: those accessing your site on mobile devices
- Visually impaired
- Tablet users
- People who speak a different language from your site’s primary language
- Those with bad internet
- Those who cannot use a computer mouse
- Those who cannot use screen-touch devices
So you may be worried about how to inculcate web accessibility features and guidelines into your nonprofit website? Worry no more as we go through the things that would make your website accessible. Right from choosing a hosting provider to content and support, we’ll guide you through the entire web accessibility checklist. And your nonprofit website should never be the same again.
Let’s get started.
1. Make web accessibility-based choices when starting
Your first step to ensuring web accessibility is the choices you make when starting out. Here, take some time to go through your web hosting provider to understand how accessible they are. You should also understand how they make it easy for websites to include accessibility features. Getting this step makes a very big difference between nonprofits sites that easily include web accessibility features and those that don’t.
2. Keyboard navigation friendly website
Moving on, another great web accessibility feature is to make your site keyboard friendly when it comes to navigating through its pages, consuming content or taking action. One major reason is that many of the assistive technologies designed for the disabled in computing, especially the hearing and visually impaired, use the keyboard as the primary navigation tool. In this sense, navigating your nonprofit website should be possible and users should be able to access links, pages, buttons, forms, and any other part of your site with their keyboard alone. The necessity of a website that is navigable via a keyboard-only is that it caters for the disabled in most of the cases, and anyone who cannot use a mouse or touch features for various reasons.
So you can add this as an important feature that is needed when building your nonprofit website. But if you already have your site, how do you know if it’s navigable through the keyboard? By using it or asking a friend or web expect to test it. This will give you the level of your site’s keyboard-friendliness. To get started, this is how to make your nonprofit website navigable through the keyboard – these things are general across the board and should be observed:
- Use “Tab”, “Shift” keys mainly for navigation
- The “Enter” or space bar should generally be used for accessing a link or clicking on a button.
- Also, use the space bar for checkboxes and arrow keys to move through these checkboxes or radio buttons and through many other ‘list’ related stuff.
- The arrow keys primarily should also function as scrolling keys.
3. Alt texts and description in all images
You’ve probably come across the “Alt Text” field from your content management system, whenever you’re publishing an image. This isn’t there for nothing. The alt text is what appears when the image fails to appear. What this means is that the alt text should describe the image so that in case the image doesn’t appear, anyone using your website would know what kind of image it would’ve been just by looking at the text.
Using alt text is a web accessibility best practice for your nonprofit website. And while you may think of ignoring it when publishing content, its importance to helping understand your site doesn’t just help visitors with image issues but help more people to access your site without any issue. In the search world, alt texts also help you improve your search engine optimization (SEO). Alt texts on your site help a number of people, paramount among them are:
- Those who cannot view images because of a bad internet connection
- The visually impaired
- Those whose browsers or devices cannot display images for various reasons.
4. Create accessible web forms
While many platforms use forms to collect data, very few people actually consider their accessibility friendliness. Forms should be accessible by all, including visually and hearing impaired or physically impaired. This is how to make nonprofit website firms accessible:
- Provide clear instructions of how the form is supposed to be filled
- Match images and icons with the right fields
- Give examples underneath each label for more clarity, especially if the form requires more details that aren’t that clear.
5. Enable resizable text capabilities
Text resizing may look like a small thing to do, but it’s highly helpful for people who have difficulty accessing your nonprofit website, especially the visually impaired. Your website should have an option for the visually impaired to be able to resize text in a way they can see. Here’s how to make text resizing a good experience on your site:
- Avoid specifying text sizes in absolute units. Rather use relative sizes to make it easy for anyone to resize text.
- Limit or remove blinking, animated, and moving texts on your nonprofit website.
6. Have different varieties of content
Your content could be great, but not everyone might have the capacity or ability to consume it. To make sure your nonprofit website is highly accessible, you need to provide different forms of content on your site. And here are the things to do to ensure accessibility in your content:
- Provide audio to blog posts – this allows your blog posts to be read out in audio to help the visually impaired to listen.
- You can also provide animated texts or videos for the hearing impaired who can watch the text and understand.
- Also, if the primary content on your site is video, always ensure that you provide a transcript to each video content that you produce.
What next for achieving web accessibility for your nonprofit website?
Web accessibility for your nonprofit website is very important. As a nonprofit organization wanting to meet the needs of different sets of people, this is something that should be a priority when designing or redesigning your website.
If you have an in-house web development team, this should be handled by them. However, you can seek the services of a web development company that specializes in nonprofit digital solutions to there’s great web accessibility for your nonprofit website.