What is Web Accessibility, and What Does it Mean For Your Nonprofit Website?

  • by Shala Graham
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Many decades ago, we lived in a world that was essentially closed off to those who have movement-related disabilities. But, as the public realized the problems that things like stairs created to those in wheelchairs, access ramps, handicapped parking spaces, and other conventions like Braille lettering became the standard for new building constructions and modifications.

These days, the same thing is happening on the Internet, where web accessibility—mainly, the study of making websites easier for those with a number of visual and motor disabilities—has become a hot topic.

We can't cover all the aspects of web accessibility here in this short article, but here are a few elements that you definitely should include in your next nonprofit website:

Compatibility across several devices.

Users with visual or learning impairments might use specialized computers, tablets, and/or software, or older versions of the packages your other visitors use. For that reason, your site should load cleanly and completely across a range of applications and computers.

Easy-to-read fonts.

This is another area where having the right kind of design isn't just good for web accessibility, but your nonprofit website in general. Fonts that are too small, or difficult to read, discourage everyone from staying on your pages, and especially those with vision-related challenges.

Alternate color schemes.

Certain color combinations (especially those involving several types of reds and blues) can be difficult for some visitors to read or distinguish. Make sure you have alternate color schemes, or black-and-white designs, available for them to use.

Underlined links within pages.

By underlining links, both internally and externally, throughout your nonprofit website, you make them easier for visually impaired users (for example, those who are colorblind) to see and identify.

Sign language and audio versions of important pieces of text.

Although text-to-speech software can read some web pages and sections, having alternate versions of your most important communications isn't a bad idea.

Appropriate Copywriting

If you know that you'll have visitors with learning disabilities or dyslexia, don't just focus on web layouts – make sure you have copywriting that is easy for those users to scan, grasp, and retain.

It's critical that today's nonprofit websites be as accessible as possible, not just for common courtesy, but because recipients, volunteers, and even donors or board members could have disabilities that prevent them from experiencing your site the way others would. What it comes down to it, having everyone able to read and understand your pages is always a good thing.

Wondering how you can make your nonprofit website more accessible? Call SW Creatives today and ask for a free assessment and account review—we will take a look at what you have and follow up with customized recommendations.