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An accessible website
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An accessible website

The best website is an accessible website. Such a website can also be used by visitors with a disability. Think of people with a visual, hearing, motor, mental or other disability.

An accessible website

The government takes care of the whole population. That is why public authorities must ensure that their websites are accessible. And from 23 September 2020, public authorities' websites must comply with the WCAG guidelines for digital accessibility. But an accessible website also offers advantages for non-state organisations.

WCAG guidelines

An accessible website complies with the WCAG guidelines. These Web Content Accessibility Guidelines are intended to make the content of websites accessible to the widest possible audience. 

The WCAG guidelines take into account the ways in which people interact with the content of a website:

  • Using a keyboard instead of a mouse
  • the use of reading software or a braille display to read the content
  • adjusting the default browser settings to make the content more readable

The WCAG guidelines consist of 4 principles to make an accessible website:

1. Observable

Make your website useable by people with the senses available to them.

  • Use text alternatives to non-text content ("alt-tags")
  • Use a transcript for audio and video content
  • Subtitle your video content
  • Use a logical structure in your content
  • Use semantic (meaningful) code.
  • Make each function also available to visitors who double the standard text size.

2. Controllable

Make sure that your visitors can find and use the content on your website, no matter how they use it:

  • Does your website work well with just a keyboard?
  • Use keyboard focus
  • Use descriptive titles for your pages
  • Use descriptive links and make it clear where they refer to
  • Do not use flashing content

3. Understandable

Make sure your website is easily understood by people and software

  • Make it possible for software to determine the language
  • Make the text readable and understandable
  • Use form fields with visible and meaningful labels
  • Easily identify erroneous entries in forms

4. Robust

Ensure that your website can be used reliably by a wide range of user agents (including outdated, current and expected browsers and assistive technologies)

  • Ensure flawless website code
  • Ensure maximum compatibility with current and future browsers and other utilities
  • Make sure that assistive technologies understand what each function is for and in what state it is in.

Accessibility testing

There are several websites on which you can test the accessibility of your website.

Furthermore, you can use "HTML Sniffer" to thoroughly analyse a web page. HTML Sniffer is a JavaScript that you can save as a bookmark. If you click it, you can analyse the current page.

Advantages of an accessible website

Some organisations are obliged to follow the WCAG guidelines in order to have an accessible website. But even if it is not mandatory for your organisation, an accessible website offers you many advantages.

Better ranking in Google Search results

An easily accessible website is easier for search engines to index and therefore positive for your search engine optimisation. A search engine such as Google recognizes accessible websites and shows them higher up in the search results.

Higher turnover

Approximately 20% of the population has a temporary or permanent restriction that hinders the use of the Internet. If your website is not accessible to that target group, you will miss out on around 3.4 million potential Dutch customers and 148 million Europeans.

Corporate Social Responsibility

If you have an accessible website, anyone can use it. In this way, you promote the integration of various groups into society. This has a positive effect on your customers and employees.

Organisations that carry out corporate social responsibility (CSR) take into account the impact of their actions on people, the environment and society. Digital accessibility is often part of CSR.

An accessible website

Is your website accessible?

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* according to Peter Martin

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