Catch the WAVE to make your website more accessible

Cowabunga Dude

Technology can be a great equalizer, and can afford opportunities to individuals that might not be available without its assistance. Yet at the same time, there is the possibility that technology can cause a divide between those with and without access to it.

One of the areas of increasing focus in recent years has been on the area of accessibility in Web design. Lighthouse International, an organization leading the charge in the fight against vision loss through prevention, treatment and empowerment, has even published guidelines on accessibility. Similarly, the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) has a set of recommendations on “Designing for Inclusion” as part of their Web Accessibility Initiative.

One resource that just came online is from our friend, Virginia Debolt. She’s pulled together a great tutorial on how to use a tool called WAVE, which has been used to assess the accessibility of millions of websites.

WAVE2

In the tutorial, How to Use the WAVE Tool to Test and Boost Site Accessibility, Virginia covers how paying special attention to tags, images, links, headings, CSS and code can greatly increase your site’s accessibility and make it more usable and valuable to a broader set of visitors. She writes:

Getting started with accessibility can be daunting because there are so many details involved, but the WAVE tool can guide you on your way. Run your blog through it. Fix any errors and alerts you can fix. If you absolutely cannot fix something, so be it. But if you can correct an error with a simple change of habit — or by implementing a few easy changes — it will make a huge difference to your users.”

Check out Virginia’s post. Your website visitors will be glad you did.

Want to learn more about accessibility? Take a look at this video from Jörn Zaefferer called “Talk to me: Making websites accessible” from the 2013 Jquery conference. There are also links behind that video to Zaefferer’s code on GitHub and a download of the slides themselves.


Also published on Medium.

Christopher Carfi
A veteran of both startups and the enterprise, Chris has a deep track record in developing customer community and evangelist programs for brands such as Adobe, H&R Block and Aruba Networks while holding executive positions at Ant’s Eye View and Edelman Digital, and he was co-founder and CEO at Cerado. He currently lives in the Bay Area with his family.