key elements for creating an accessibility compliant website with Colleen Gratzer – SWC 56November 7, 2019 November 7, 2019 /
Accessibility aspect of websites is finally getting more attention thanks to recent lawsuits in the US. Is making a WordPress website that is also accessible a complicated process?
What are the critical elements for creating an accessibility compliant website? Colleen Gratzer is here to share practical information about website accessibility.
01. Understanding Compliance
- Accessible sites have been getting a lot of focus with the ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) lawsuits in the U.S. Is the technical part about building accessible websites getting more clear now or we developers have been lazy about it?
- Correct me if I am wrong, there is nothing called 100% accessible website in real terms. However, there are specific things we can check to make sure the website is accessible to the maximum possible extent. Like, able to browse via a screen reader, keyboard only, and so on?
- What on a website needs to be accessible?
02. Accessible WordPress Website Structure
- We all live in the WordPress ecosystem, building websites using WordPress. What are the main things to consider in the website structure from the accessibility point of view?
- Will a plugin make a WordPress website accessible?
- Does the use of page builders hamper accessibility efforts or when used correctly, they are fine for building accessible websites?
03. Visual design accessibility
- I see websites trying to be uber-stylish by using small 14px body font size. Isn’t this a big no from a visual accessibility point of view?
- Taking forward this uber-stylish layout is using light grey font colours on white background. Another big no, as accessibility requires a good amount of colour contrast, right?
04. Dealing with media files
- After text, images, PDFs, word documents dominate the web content. How can we make these more accessible for all?
- How does one handle the accessibility aspect of displaying video content on the website?
- What about audio files like podcasts? Is showing transcripts enough in this regard?
05. Testing a website for accessibility
- For an existing website, how do you go about checking every aspect with regard to compliance?
- Which are few recommended tools for such testing and analysis?
Colleen Gratzer’s ToolBox
- Use Pancake (pancakeapp.com) for project management needs.
- Trello for general management of podcast topics.
- Prefer WPengine hosting for WordPress sites for easy backup, restore.
- For email marketing needs using Mailer Lite service.
About Colleen Gratzer
I have more than 20 years of experience with branding, graphic design, publication design, and web design and development. I started Gratzer Graphics LLC in 2003, after working a full-time job and freelancing for seven years. I was making more money on the side than at my job, so I left my job to go out on my own.
I worked by myself until a couple of years ago, when a designer and developer started working with me, so I could transition to more of a business owner/creative director role.
A year prior to that, I was sought out by one of the top accessibility providers to the U.S. government who knew of my design and technical skills and wanted me to take her InDesign + PDF accessibility course because she said there aren’t enough good designers out there, and there are fewer who know about accessibility.
After several requests, I finally said yes and found that I really enjoyed the work and the purpose behind it. Then I started researching everything I could about accessible websites and created those too. Accessibility became a key differentiator for my business. I’ve since presented at the U.S. Department of the Interior about InDesign and accessibility. I’m also about to release a website accessibility course to help designers and developers understand and know how to create an accessible website
In April 2018, I finally put into motion an idea I had for several years, which was wanting to help freelance designers with the issues I had faced over the years—mindset, forming a business, enhancing the quality of your work, dealing with client issues, pricing, etc. So I started the Design Domination podcast, and then later a Facebook community, to share my real-world graphic design and business expertise with aspiring freelance designers.