With more focus than ever on making conferences and events accessible and inclusive for all, it’s imperative to also have a website that is accessible for all users.
Meetings & Events Australia recently hosted a personal development session in Sydney on how to produce events that foster inclusion, diversity and accessibility.
Luli Adeyemo, founder and director of event management company Best Case Scenario, shared the importance of digital inclusion and how it can be implemented across event websites.
She said, while they’re not widely known or followed, the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) standards should be applied to all websites or digital material.
Based on these guidelines, here are Adeyemo’s three tips that can be implemented today to improve website accessibility:
1. Web banners and images
Adeyemo explained screen readers, which are used by people with blindness or visual impairments to convert text from a computer screen to audio, can’t pick up text on an image or advertising banner.
“They have to either contact you or get somebody else to contact you [for information],” she said. “You’re taking away their independence.”
Therefore, if your email marketing or website includes banners with text, it is imperative to include the information in the main body text as well.
It is also important to include ‘alt text’ for all images and banners, which helps describe the image and its content to those with visual impairments.
“This is very, very simple and all of a sudden they’ve got their independence back, they’re empowered and they understand what’s happening with the event,” said Adeyemo.
2. Keyboard access
It’s important to ensure your website can be navigated using the tab key on the keyboard.
“We’re very mouse-dominated and we forget about people who may have physical challenges that mean they can’t use a computer mouse,” said Adeyemo.
She recalls visiting a website where the disability access information required you to click with a mouse, meaning it couldn’t be accessed by those who may require it.
Learn how to make your website keyboard accessible here.
3. Colour contrast
Adeyemo, who has a visual impairment, said issues with colour contrast on website are the “bain of my life”.
According to the W3C guidelines, some people can’t read text if there isn’t sufficient contrast between the text and background.
Therefore, it’s important to avoid using similar colours for text and background and to avoid using a busy image as the background for text.
Adeyemo said these three tips can make a major difference for people with a variety of disabilities.
“These things are very simple, once you’re aware of them and you start to think about them, they’re very easy to implement,” she said.
Additional tips and resources on making your website and digital marketing materials more accessible are available here.