Accessibility for Small Websites

Back in December we wrote a blog post about an Israeli law requiring websites to meet a strict set of accessibility standards for users with disabilities. Since then we’ve been trying to find the best course of action for our clients, most of whom are individuals and small businesses. While well intentioned, these requirements impose an undue burden on small businesses.

Today we spoke with a representative from the Israel Internet Association, and he said that while an exemption for businesses earning less than 500,000 NIS in revenue was approved, it did not officially pass. <Insert wry statement about delays and bureaucracy here>.

They recommend that any small business apply for an exemption from the Commission for Equal Rights for Persons With Disabilities. At WordCamp Israel on March 28, Jonathan Klinger gave a presentation about the accessibility law and suggested that it may not be the best idea to bring attention to your website by submitting it, because if it does not receive an exemption, then it makes it more of a target for fines. That said, as of yet, to anyone’s knowledge, these laws have not yet been tested and no related suits have been filed.

There are several plugins designed to make your WordPress website more accessible, and several themes are “out of the box” accessible. But what can you do if you recently built your website and don’t want to go through all of the design and development all over again? While complying with the requirements involves extensive examination, there are some major things that you can do to make sure that your website is compliant.

  • Alternate text for all images
  • Providing text alternatives or captions for audio and video content.
  • Mark up your content such that HTML tags are used correctly. This means that <h1>tags go around the very main content like the site title, followed by h2 for sub-categories and article titles. List should use <li> tags and paragraphs should be contained in <p> tags.
  • Content should be easily read and understood.
  • No elements such as tickers or sliders should automatically run without the ability for a user to manually stop or pause them.
  • Links should not say “click here”, but rather be linked text, providing contextual information.
  • Error messages should be as specific as possible.
  • The website’s layout should not break when zoomed up to 200% and the color contrast should be strong enough. This color contrast tool can help you check if it is.
  • The “focus” element on links should be used so that a user can see where they are when using TAB on their keyboard.

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