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How to Meet The Increasing Demand For Website Accessibility

How to Meet The Increasing Demand For Website Accessibility

Introduction

According to the World Health Organization (WHO) World report on disability, about 15% of the world’s population is living with a form of disability, out of which, 2 to 4 percent of these people experience difficulty in functioning. The UN Convention on the rights of persons with disabilities considers access to information, which includes data on the internet as a human right. Web accessibility is the ability for anyone to be able to access and conveniently use web technologies regardless of any physical impairment.

How can you meet the increasing demand for website accessibility?

Website accessibility implementation is highly dependent on the nature of content such as videos, audio, or text that is on your website. Ensuring your website content is accessible, could be a complex task, but you could seek the services of a web development company in Houston or your county of residence to assist you in implementation. Below we take a look at some of the ways through which you can meet the demand for accessibility on your website.

Audio and Video Content

Here are some ways through which you could improve the accessibility of both audio and video content on your website.

  • Transcripts: A transcript is a text format of audio information. Transcripts are very helpful to people that can see and are deaf or hard of hearing. Transcripts can be categorized as

 Basic meaning that audio is transcribed to text, commonly used for audio-only content such as podcasts.

 Interactive. These transcripts highlight text as it is spoken, alongside a video. Interactive transcripts are commonly used with video content.

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How to prepare transcripts

  1. Transcribe the content of the audio and video. This implies converting it to text.
  2. Place the transcript in an accessible area alongside your main content.

There is no predefined file format for transcripts that has to be used to include them in your web pages. Transcripts are usually just plain text and can be implemented directly as HTML.

Guide on implementing transcripts

  • Logically organize the information: This implies including paragraphs and lists where necessary. Speech by default is not organized and therefore it may be tempting to transcribe information.
  • Include navigation and clarification: Add titles and headings where necessary. Also, clarify information that may have an uncertain context.

Transcripts are a great way to ensure that your content is accessible to people with disabilities, however, one particular major benefit of transcripts is that they could greatly contribute to the Search Engine Optimization of your video content.

  • Closed captioning and Subtitles: They enable people that are hard of hearing to visually understand the words being spoken in a video by converting the audio to text and displaying the information on the screen. They are also beneficial to people that process visual information better than audio. Closed captions are referred to as closed for they can be hidden by the user however, open captions are also an option and are always displayed as the video plays. Subtitles are implemented the same way as closed captions but they are generally in a different language other than the original one being spoken.

How to prepare captions

Live captions – This process is facilitated by Communication Access Real-time Translation providers (CART), these are professionals that caption videos as they are streamed.

Interactive transcripts – (More info in the section Transcripts). These files can be used to generate captions for prerecorded videos. As the video plays, the text spoken can be highlighted or superimposed on the video.

Automatic Captions – Websites such as YouTube provide options for automatically captioning information. It is however good to note that such captions are generated by machine learning algorithms and therefore have a varying degree of accuracy. Usually, after generating captions using an ML algorithm, the information may require further editing.

Guide on implementing Captions

Captioning involves transcribing audio from video and relevant data such as timestamps need to be captured. Have a good understanding of which non-speech audio content should be implemented. There are several free software available to enable you to caption your videos. The captioning file format used on the web is the Web Video Text Track Format (WebVTT).

Design and Layout of content

  • Text size options: Some people may experience difficulty in seeing and may need to adjust the font size to see the text on a webpage. Size options not only apply to the font but also other types of text on a web page such as buttons. These could help people with reduced dexterity work with controls and execute commands better.
  • Color Contrast: Good color contrast is crucial to enable your content to be visible, even to people with visual impairments such as color blindness.
  • Text to Speech: Text to speech enables visually impaired people to listen to text content on a webpage as an algorithm reads it out loud.
  • Page Structure: Well-structured pages have a variety of benefits to both people with and without disabilities, one of which is that it enables those with cognitive or learning impairment to easily find the main content on the page.
  • Non-Text content: Non-text contexts such as images and videos need to have an alternative text to display in case the resource fails to load.

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Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG)

The World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) has provided some web accessibility guidelines. These guidelines provided a detailed overview of implementing Accessibility. The guidelines cover the above and more requirements that could be met to make your Website more accessible.

Conclusion

Web accessibility has always been a necessity, however, it has been ignored in the past with many failing to implement it on their websites. With the increased use of online technologies during COVID-19, Implementing Web accessibility features has not only become crucial for websites to be able to reach out to people with disabilities, but it also helps many companies avoid web accessibility-related lawsuits which have been on the rise in recent years. Industry protocols such as Web Content Accessibility Guidelines provided by W3C can be followed to guide you in the implementation of Web Accessibility for your website. However, you could hire a Web developer in Houston or seek a Web development company in Houston Texas, or your area of residence, to assist you with the technical details regarding the implementation of accessibility for your website.

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