How to improve mobile web accessibility
Current various statistics show that over one billion people live with some form of disability across the globe. They are looking to interact with the world and want to be able to take full advantage of the Internet. As mobile devices are portable and easy to use, people with disabilities most often use them to go online. It’s vital to improve mobile web accessibility in order to increase the number of satisfied users.
Indeed, smartphones and tablets make simple everyday tasks, such as banking, making restaurant reservations or booking movie tickets, much more convenient. Some necessary measures have already been implemented. In the Web Accessibility Initiative, developed by World Wide Web Consortium, accessibility standards also include “mobile accessibility.”
More and more companies with a consistent web presence are taking steps to ensure that people with disabilities are able to use and read their websites. Recently we wrote about how to improve website accessibility. Today, we’ll consider some ways to improve mobile web accessibility.
Ways to improve mobile web accessibility
1. Make a quick mobile web accessibility check
You can check your current mobile web accessibility using visual and screen reader tests. Here are some important items to consider to ensure your mobile site is accessible:
- options to increase the text size
- way to gather users’ feedback about site accessibility
- a site that works in different screen orientations (both portrait and landscape)
- link for more information are easily found on a page
- it is easy to mark items in a web page, then use shortcuts to navigate back to marked items
- any important features that reference colors
- every viewport has an active or inactive keyboard focus at all times
- buttons or icons are a comfortable size to press without accidentally hitting the wrong ones
- a default sequential navigation order
- the possibility to reverse the setting changes, or require user confirmation to proceed
- if synthesized speech is produced, the user can specify speech rate, speech volume and voice (when more than one voice is available).
- when testing a screen reader, the app understands words being spoken
- If user stylesheets are supported, then the user can enable or disable user stylesheets for all pages on specified websites, or all pages
- when testing the screen reader, actions are easily executable without need to see the screen.
Check out more mobile accessibility examples here.
2. Publish an accessibility statement
It's critical to show your commitment to making your website more accessible to the wider audience. A statement provides precise information about the current level of your site’s accessibility, or more specifically:
- your site is developed to be accessible
- steps you are taking for improving accessibility
- specific features you are addressing now and the limitations of your site’s accessibility
- link for leaving feedback (It’s a great opportunity to find out where users experience difficulties).
3. Consider the importance of color and contrast, text and themes
You must create a website so that people with color blindness or poor vision are able to change its colors, backgrounds and other essential visual elements. Consider screen width and include text zoom buttons on the page to change the text size. Take into account that color-blind people need a lot of contrast between colors and place light elements against dark backgrounds to make them clearly visible. All of the above mentioned features should be easy to find and use. By doing this, the user experience of your site will be also much better.
4. Create a sitemap
To improve mobile web accessibility and effectively increase usability, include a sitemap with a comprehensive overview of its logical structure. Having sitemaps also make it easier for your users to navigate the site. Also important — sitemaps not only help your visitors find what they are looking for, but they boost search engine optimization as well.
5. Make sure screen reader experiences are relevant and clear
Screen readers are a piece of software created for visually impaired people. They convert whatever elements are displayed on a screen into a form that the user can process, through spoken words or braille output devices. This allows users to interact with your website with the same efficiency as others do.
Screen readers should be relevant and clear, any information on a screen (descriptions, buttons, sliders, icons, and other objects) should be in a logical order, and images need to have thorough descriptions.
These are not all the ways to make your website easy to read and used by a wider audience. However, when employing our tips, you’ll be halfway to improving your site’s accessibility. Do you need help in implementing some specific features on your website to improve mobile web accessibility? We are always available!