Cut Time, Not Users: Fast Accessibility
A 2015 study showed that 76% of Australians are busy, so much so that they don't even have time to grab a bite to eat. As a nation, we've simply got too much on - too many pressures and responsibilities. So, for those professionals that are maintaining their own website, accessibility is often an afterthought, with the focus on getting content out there and available.
There's a lot you can do in your life to make sure you're efficient, from taking account of every second to professional time management coaching. But how can you find time to make sure your website is there for everyone?
Why Should I?
You may be questioning what the point is in putting effort into making your website universally user friendly. Well, from a professional standpoint, you'd be losing out on a big market. 61% of Australians declaring a disability regularly use the Internet - that’s nearly 2.5 million people. By making sure your website is open and available for everyone, that's an advantage you'll have a whole lot of other website owners who haven't had the forethought.
How Can I?
To make your website accessible, you need to address three main areas of concern. Think of it as three S’s - sight, sound, simplicity = accessibility. By tailoring your website to intelligently use audio elements and sign language, and reducing the use of local slang; by clearly labelling the website for ease of navigation and for finding individual pages; and employing a simple, easily navigated site design without distractions.
Most crucial is user testing. The only way to really ensure that someone with accessibility requirements can benefit from your website is for them to use it, not yourself in a hypothetical exercise.
How Can I When I’m Busy?
All of the above is fine, of course, if you have limitless resources. As we’ve already established, though, people are very, very busy these days. So what are your options to get your website accessible with the minimum diversion from your already stretched time?
For the answer, look to our venerated friend - modern technology. There are plenty of resources out there on the web that are tailor-made to improve your user and developer journey, from comprehensive accessibility friendly toolkits to bespoke toolkits, such as automated text-to-speech technology. To boot, website design that is calm, quiet and simple is very much ‘in’ - so to design your own website in a simple manner won’t look out of place in today’s market.
Everyone, and especially professionals, have had increasing demands placed on their time, with the digital age providing a relentless thirst for time and accessible design falling down the pecking order. It doesn’t have to be that way and with the above hints and tips you can have a fantastic, inclusive website.
Contribution from freelance writer, Jenny Holt.
About the Author:
Barbara Clifford (The Time Tamer) is a time management & stress management enthusiast based in Alice Springs, Australia. She has spent over 20 years working in time precious and stressful industries such as film, hospitality, and marketing. She has always had a burning passion for creating order and making sense of things. She is sought after like a beacon in a sea of chaos to provide professional development in the business environment through workshop training, coaching, mentoring, online training programs, webinars and as a guest speaker around Australia. Her professional experience has included contracts with small business, Not For Profits, Aboriginal Organisations, Media, Marketing, Aged Care, Universities, Health Services and Cruise Ships. Follow Barbara on Twitter @barbclifford.