Megyn's new glassesAfter squinting at one too many nutritional panels on food packages and regularly clicking on the zoom button, I succumbed to the fact I needed to see about my eyes.

Getting glasses has made me rethink how people use the internet who have less than optimal eyesight or hearing, those with a physical disability or mental health challenges and others who may be aging with less cognitive ability.

It’s made me re-assess about website accessibility which, in its classic form is making websites easy to use and read for the broadest number of people.

But today, many people don’t realise one of the secrets to more website enquiries and sales is a website that uses accessibility standards. By making a website more accessible to those with a disability or less than optimal sight, you make it more accessible to everyone and encourage more sales.

Here’s my guidelines to encouraging more sales using website accessibility standards:

1) Have text alternatives for non-text content e.g. Alt Text describing images, transcripts for videos, labels for form fields.

2) Make content easy to see and hear including using good contrast, text that can be resized, audio volume that can be adjusted or stopped, images of text are avoided.

3) The keyboard can be used for all functionality helping people who can’t easily use a mouse and people using voice recognition.

4) Allow enough time for people to read and use content as some people need more time to type, understand instructions or complete tasks on a website. Provide ways to extend or adjust time limits.

5) Content is well organised to help users easily navigate, find content and determine where they are. Assist by using clear description page titles and section headings, providing more than one way to find relevant pages e.g. search, keyboard or mouse and ensure the purpose of links are clear.

6) Text content is readable and understandable to the broadest audience possible providing language translations where appropriate and definitions of unusual words or abbreviations.

7) Content appears and operates in consistent and predictable ways with navigation appearing in the same place on multiple pages and components that are repeated labelled in the same way.

8) Help users avoid and correct mistakes. Give descriptive instructions, error messages and suggestions for correction and allow them to review and correct mistakes.

9) Test your website in various browsers like Firefox, Chrome and Safari (including the various versions) and mobile phones and tablets to ensure website content is compatible and readable across devices.

If you use a Content Management System (CMS) like WordPress, your business will benefit from using these guidelines to website accessibility.

With a website that is easy to use and read, allows alternate ways to view and use the website, and the content is organised logically and consistently, it will encourage visitors to stay that bit longer and potentially buy from you. Now that’s got to be good for everyone!

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