One of my favorite WordCamp Atlanta presentations was Nancy Thanki’s on accessibility (slideshow above). Every website owner should work toward making websites that welcome all users, including users with disabilities, and Thanki provided a solid overview of related technologies, concerns, and steps to achieve just that. What’s nice is that improving your site’s accessibility also boosts SEO and site performance, so there’s no downside (in the words of Michael Scott, it’s a win-win-win solution).
6 key takeaways to building more accessible sites:
1) Use descriptive image titles and alt tags
When uploading images to your site, make sure the image title and alt tags describe an image’s content (“woman-in-sheer-blue-dress.jpg”), instead of using default or generic labels (“img4327.jpg”).
2) Use custom link text
Hyperlink text should describe what it’s linked to (e.g., “ten ways to sleep better”); avoid generic link text like “click here.”
3) Use “post name” permalinks
Descriptive URLs like “http://redforkstudio.com/about-me” are more informative for search engines and people using screen readers than URLs formatted like “http://redforkstudio.com/?p=123.”
4) Provide transcripts for videos and podcasts
Not everyone can hear (or wants to sit through a video/podcast).
Visually impaired users will miss out.
6) Finally, for website copy, site navigation, and everything else:
When you have to choose, clarity beats cleverness.
For more information on building accessible sites, check out Carrie Dils’ series on accessibility, and Zoe Rooney’s post “Eight Things Designers Can Do to Improve SEO, Accessibility, and Performance.”
Also: Videos of all WordCamp Atlanta 2015 sessions, including this one, will be available on WordPress.tv in the near future.