Many online users take for granted the features that today’s websites offer. But websites must consider the needs of users with special needs.

Website designs that are accessible to these users can provide value to them despite any existing disabilities.

Visual, hearing, and learning challenges must be considered when creating a fully functional website for your law firm.

How to Reach Users Who Have Visual Impairments

There’s a wide range of visual impairments. Blindness (complete or partial), color blindness, and other issues affect how users receive your law firm’s content online.

Screen reading technologies are available to assist these users. But websites must be designed in ways that allow these tools to convert written text and images into content they can use.

Visitors with visual impairments may need to navigate your site’s pages using only their keyboard. Some websites integrate keyboard shortcuts to assist these users.

The Tab and Enter keys can be used to help them move between and select the different elements on your website.

Allowing the font size to be modified is an essential feature that assists website visitors. Other factors such as the use of color, location, size, and contrast can also affect how users with visual impairments engage with your content.

Images and Accessibility in Your Website’s Design

Images highlight your services and the benefits they provide. But images can’t be recognized by speech technologies used by visitors with special needs.

Enlarging images and other graphics can be more difficult when compared to changing the font sizes in your content.

Web developers can use text labels such as alt tags to help search engines and speech technologies recognize image-based content. Descriptive page titles can also support the usability of your website’s design.

Alt tags can be read aloud by screen readers, giving users a clear indication of what images appear in your site’s content.

Users should be able to modify their browser settings to accommodate special needs. Specifying layouts and exact sizes in your design can interfere with this functionality and keep users from moving further into your sales process.

Best Practices for Accommodating Special Needs

Videos can be enhanced through the use of transcripts and subtitles. Transcripts can be read by users or speech readers to make content more useful for those with visual or hearing impairments.

Link descriptions should be used in place of anchor text such as “click here” or “submit”. Giving visitors a sense of what they’ll obtain by clicking a link prevents confusion in your sales process.

Links should be distinguished from surrounding content through the use of color contrast and fonts. The right colors enhance the user experience while colors such as green, yellow, and blue may present challenges for users who are colorblind.

The more you know your audience, the more you’ll be able to accommodate special needs.

There are variations between the physical and cognitive challenges that users may have. If you create a design that tries to accommodate all of them, you may hurt your site’s performance.

So understanding your audience helps you create a more customized website design that gives them the flexibility to modify settings and utilize assistive technologies.

Brick and mortar businesses must provide accessibility to people with special needs. Likewise, today’s websites must include ways to help users access their content despite challenges related to their physical or cognitive abilities.

What strategies have you used to address the special needs of your audience? What obstacles are you still encountering in your website’s accessibility? Let us know in the comments below.

Accommodating the special needs of your audience leads to a more effective website that supports your marketing strategies while helping you deliver more value to your audience.

Sources:

  1. https://www.hobo-web.co.uk/design-website-for-blind/
  2. http://mashable.com/2014/04/22/website-disability-friendly/#Y6UEOZiUQPqr
Rob Riggs

Rob Riggs is a talented entrepreneur and keynote speaker with more than 10 years experience developing technical solutions for organizations representing a wide array of industries. Rob leads the Your Design Online development team. He and his team are responsible for taking the concept, the design, the graphics and copy and transforming them into effective digital experiences. Read more here.

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