Your author website is your online information hub: the place where readers, fans, editors, and literary agents will visit to learn more about you and your writing. The experts at Web Design Relief know you want everyone who visits your website to be able to access all the details you’ve included for their benefit. However, 26% (1 in 4) of US adults have disabilities that can make it difficult for them to navigate your author website and access the information. Here’s how to make sure your author website is accessible to all visitors.
Is Your Author Website Accessible To All?
The importance of website accessibility: Web accessibility ensures your website is designed so that people with disabilities can use it properly. This means the website’s tools, coding, and design elements are compatible with assistive software and can accommodate different levels of ability. Web accessibility benefits many people, including those with:
- Visual or hearing impairments
- Mobility issues
- Cognitive disabilities
Use An Accessible Website Builder
Popular website builders like WordPress and Wix are committed to being as accessible and comprehensive as possible. WordPress offers accessibility-ready themes, while Wix has built-in accessibility features with their website packages.
Correctly Label Your Content
Many website visitors, particularly people who are visually impaired, use screen-reading devices to dictate web content aloud. In order to make your website content compatible for screen readers, be sure to label your content’s HTML correctly. For example, only use the heading tag for content that belongs in the header, such as your name, page titles, or book titles.
You should also avoid using buttons that simply say “click here.” Indicate what the buttons are for with phrases like “learn more about the author” or “click here to purchase the book.”
You’ll also want to make certain your permalinks are descriptive for the content on your pages, which will help people with visual disabilities as well as people with cognitive disabilities. Example:
Low Readability: www.sampleauthorwebsite.com/about
High Readability: www. sampleauthorwebsite.com/about-the-author
Be Mindful When Using Color
For the best legibility, use high-contrast colors like black and white or yellow and blue. If your color palette features all the same hues and shades, reading your content may be difficult for people with visual impairments like color blindness. We also recommend forgoing color cues to indicate important fields—use bold text or asterisks instead. Red-green color deficiency is quite common, so using only red text to indicate important fields may be ineffective for some of your visitors.
Avoid Auto-Playing Content
Content that plays or opens automatically as soon as you visit a website is annoying to any user, but can actually impede accessibility software. The sound from videos or music players may interfere with screen reading software, while content overlays and dialogue boxes can hamper the effectiveness of magnification software.
Include Closed Captions Or Transcriptions
Closed-captioning or transcription is essential for video or audio content in order to accommodate people with hearing or vision issues. Similarly, image and chart descriptions can be helpful for anyone who uses screen readers—this way, all of your content will be accessible for people who cannot engage with visual content.
Don’t Use Flashing Lights
Conditions like epilepsy can be triggered by flashing lights, which may lead to seizures or other sensory disturbances. Avoid flashing content in your graphics, videos, banners, marquees, gifs, and other visual content to ensure a safe experience for people with photosensitivity.
Make Your Site Keyboard-Friendly
Certain physical conditions limit or prohibit the use of a computer mouse. The best way to accommodate this is to make your website completely usable via keyboard. Test your author website—can you navigate using only the arrow, enter, and backspace keys? If you can move around your entire website using only your keyboard, you’re good to go.
For more information about web accessibility, you can visit W3C to learn about the Web Accessibility Initiative.
If you’re interested in creating an accessible author website, Web Design Relief can help! Schedule a free consultation today.
Question: What other website elements would benefit from being more accessible?