Testing is the first step toward determining if your website is accessible to people with disabilities, including those using assistive technologies like screen readers, screen magnifiers, switch controls, and others.
St. Edward's tool Siteimprove can go a long way in helping you find broken links, misspellings, and missing "alt text" on your images. But there are also many simple rules to follow that will help you build web pages that are accessible from day one. When you build these steps into your process, you will make your content accessible to everyone.
Provide appropriate alternative text
Alternative text provides a textual alternative to non-text content -- such as pictures and images -- in web pages. It is especially helpful for people who are blind and rely on a screen reader to have the content of the website read to them.
Provide appropriate document structure
Headings, lists, and other structural elements provide meaning and structure to web pages. They can also facilitate keyboard navigation within the page.
Provide headers for data tables
Tables that are used to organize tabular data should have appropriate table headers (the "th" element). Data cells should be associated with their appropriate headers, making it easier for screen reader users to navigate and understand the data table.
Ensure users can complete and submit all forms
Ensure that every form element (text field, checkbox, dropdown list, etc.) has a label and make sure that label is associated with the correct form element. Make sure the user can submit the form and recover from errors, such as the failure to fill in all required fields.
Ensure links make sense out of context
Every link should make sense if the link text is read by itself. Screen reader users may choose to read only the links on a web page. Phrases like “click here” and “more” must be avoided.
Caption and/or provide transcripts for media
Videos and live audio must have captions and a transcript. With archived audio, a transcription may be sufficient.
Ensure accessibility of non-HTML content, including PDF files, Microsoft Word documents, and PowerPoint presentations
PDF documents and other non-HTML content must be as accessible as possible. If you cannot make it accessible, consider using HTML instead or, at the very least, provide an accessible alternative. PDF documents should also include a series of tags to make it more accessible. A tagged PDF file looks the same, but it is almost always more accessible to a person using a screen reader.
Allow users to skip repetitive elements on the page
Provide a method that allows users to skip navigation or other elements that repeat on every page. This is usually accomplished by providing a “Skip to Main Content,” or “Skip Navigation” link at the top of the page which jumps to the main content of the page.
Do not rely on color alone to convey meaning
The use of color can enhance comprehension, but do not use color alone to convey information. That information may not be available to a person who is colorblind or screen reader users.
Prioritize Text Clarity
The biggest obstacle for visually impaired users is text clarity, so designers should take every measure to increase legibility (clarity of letters) and readability (clarity of text blocks).
Make sure content is clearly written and easy to read
There are many ways to make your content easier to understand. Write clearly, use clear fonts, and use headings and lists appropriately.