10 Ways to Improve Your WordPress Website’s Accessibility | HostAdvice

10 Ways to Improve Your WordPress Website’s Accessibility

If you were thinking of making your site go viral, you should first think of “what is web accessibility”? Web accessibility touches on the ability of persons with a disability to access the website. It also helps those with temporary or conditional disabilities, such as age, bad or slow connections, and more!

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Many countries have also implemented web accessibility in their laws. For instance, the Workforce Rehabilitation Act of 1973 in the United States says that any “electronic and information technology produced, owned, maintained, or utilized by the federal government must be accessible to individuals with disabilities.” Many European countries also have their national legislation establishing web accessibility rights, and the European Union’s European Charter of Fundamental Rights also guarantees digital accessibility.

Note: Still, WebAIM discovered that 98% of one million homepages had at least one fault in a single year, such as empty links, missing picture alt text, and low-contrast text.

See, creating a website is just the first step towards building a reputable online business. However, today, a simple site isn’t sufficient. If your website lacks accessible features, you may be preventing a large percentage of your audience with disabilities from viewing your material. And what’s the point of having a website with no visitors? Or, well, a site that limits people from seeing your content?

Warning: Such difficulties can quickly turn your website useless.

How To Improve Your WordPress Website’s Accessibility?

Improving web accessibility is essential more than ever. But it would help if you had a tactic for doing that. Implement these ten strategies when you’re ready to increase the accessibility of your WordPress website and be sure that you are doing a great job.

1. Add Image Alt Text To Your Content

The descriptive language contained within the alt feature of an image element is known as alt text. So, if you don’t use alt text, you won’t describe images to a screen reader user.

Furthermore, there is some controversy over the website’s operation. If alt text is given, screen reader users can easily understand the message delivered by pictures on the page, especially for educational images.

Important: The alt text should represent the message you want to express through that picture when you create it.

This rule does not apply when a picture is used just for decoration. The alt text can be kept blank in this scenario to avoid distracting the reader.

However, if you use pictures as links, it is better to include alt text. When using those, you should be descriptive, specific, and relevant. This role implies that alt tags should not be used to spam exact-match keywords but rather to convey right what an image depicts. Be distinctive!

If you are using WordPress, adding alt text to your photographs should be reasonably simple. All you need to do is click on a picture in the editing window to bring up the Image Settings page, where you’ll see a section for this. For example, if you have some pictures with cats and wool balls, it should look like this. alt= “two cute ginger cats sleeping with rolls of wool.”

Screenshot of alt text example

2. Use Headers Properly To Manage Your Content’s Structure

The purpose of headings and subheadings is to assist readers in navigating the content. A header or subheading comes at the top of a page or section and defines the information that follows in a few lines.

Note: The content of your website has to be well and readily comprehended by screen readers if headers are used appropriately and strategically.

Accessibility is also influenced by heading structure. It’s beneficial for folks who can’t read from a screen. So, make sure the headers are in the correct sequence and that presentation and structure are kept separate.

Warning: Do not select a header based only on its visual appeal, as this may cause screen reader users to become confused. Headers break up vast chunks of material on a web page, useful for users who scan through the content—this aids screen readers to understand the context of each part.

The simplest way to add headers is to use the WordPress editor. Using the new block editor, you may pick ‘Heading’ from the Add button. Then you can choose which headings to include.

Here’s an example of how it should be structured:

  • H1: The Air Forces are fantastic.
  • H2: Why do we like Air Force shoes more than others?
  • H3: They’re not only for boys!
  • H3: They can be combined for a lot more than casual.
  • And so on

3. Your Links Should Be Unique And Descriptive

When inserting links in your article, use terminology that correctly conveys where the link will lead.

Perceptibility-damaged persons can use screen readers to search the website for connections the same way as “normal” people do. As a result, screen reader users frequently overlook the meaning of the link about the rest of the page.

Note: When descriptive language is utilized, the context of links is adequately communicated to the screen reader user. 

For screen reader users, a phrase like “click here” is not descriptive and useless and can be hard to understand. Because screen reader users frequently explore the links list by looking for the initial letter, the most specific content of the link should be provided first.

Once again, you can utilize a WordPress plugin for the job. This plugin permits you to link a WordPress page to a custom URL rather than the default. In turn, people who visit the old URL will be redirected to the new one you’ve chosen.

For example, if you’re directing people to a website called “About Us:”

  • “Click here” to learn more about our company doesn’t sound soo good.
  • Instead, add “Read About Us” to discover more about our organization.

4. Consider Legibility While Choosing Fonts And Colors

Fonts and colors are essential elements on any site since they provide individuality and flair while also strengthening your online visual identity.

Avoid difficult-to-read font styles, sizes, and color palettes, and pay attention to contrast or the contrast between the darkness of your text and the lightness of your backdrop.

Illustration of the difference between good and bad website design

Warning: Red-green color deficiency is the primary color deficiency, affecting around 8% of the population. Using just these colors will make it difficult for these people to interpret your message.

When you have to use color to identify and organize your materials, it helps other people with disabilities, especially those with learning difficulties. Color can be used to satisfy both groups, but other visual clues, such as an asterisk or a question mark, should also be used. Make use of visual separation to separate content blocks from one another. The color can be changed in color settings when it detects low color contrast in the Block you’re working on.

For example, red-orange and orange are low-contrast colors, while red and green are high-contrast colors.

Note: You can easily recognize when low contrast makes it harder to focus on the post by just giving a glimpse of an eye.

5. Tables Should Only Be Used For Tabular Data

The table’s first purpose is to arrange the items on the page. However, the usage of tables for page layout increases the amount of vocabulary for screen reader users. When a screen reader comes across a table, it informs the user that a table has few columns and rows, detracting from the content. Furthermore, the material may be read differently from the page’s visual arrangement.

So, instead of utilizing a table to design a website’s layout, utilize CSS for presentation. Also, when creating a data table, add rows and columns headings to illustrate the relationships between cells. Complex tables may have several cells with different relationships, which should be indicated using the “scope” property in HTML.

You may quickly add tables to your site using the standard WordPress block editor. Create a new post or page, or update one that already exists. Once inside the content editor, click the plus sign to create a new block, then pick ‘Table.’

For example, you can use it to add space around an image, set bullet icons on a list, or make a block of text behave like a pull quote.

6. Provide Access To Dynamic Contents

Dynamic information on a web page can be particularly troublesome for visitors who cannot see the screen for any reason. Fortunately, websites with dynamic content may be adapted to all their viewers individually.

Screen readers may be unaware when content changes dynamically without a page refresh, which may be seen in screen overlays, in-page updates, modal dialogs, and more. In turn, users who depend only on their keyboards may be trapped in page overlays. For instance, magnification software users may find themselves zoomed in on the wrong section of the page.

These functions are simple to implement. Ensure that video players do not use autoplay, and they may be managed with a keyboard. All videos must have closed captioning and transcripts for the deaf. And if your website has a slideshow, ensure each image has alt text and navigates with the keyboard.

Collecting information and data from various site visitors is required to develop successful dynamic content. This step will entail the use of cookies or some form of tracking. It will offer you information on how many times a person clicks through a page, how long they spent on various pages and other helpful information about their site usage.

Website operators can also collect information from visitors through sign-up forms, newsletters, site registrations, and purchase procedures. This information is typically kept in background databases and made available as needed.

For example, several effective methods can help you present dynamic material to your users. Newsletters and emails, landing pages, articles, forms and purchases, and website advertisements are just a few of the options.

7. Try To Use ARIA Roles

Accessible Rich Internet Applications is abbreviated as ARIA. ARIA is a collection of HTML features that outline making online content and apps accessible to people with disabilities who use assistive technology.

ARIA can assist bridge the gap between native HTML and accessibility concerns, although many features that used to need ARIA elements are already incorporated in HTML5.

Warning: Please remember that adding ARIA properties will not make the most sophisticated widgets accessible.

ARIA does not affect users who solely use their keyboards; it only impacts persons who utilize assistive technology. So, you’ll still need to use Javascript to set up your interactions and behaviors.

For example, add notifications for screenreader users to be notified of dynamic page changes, such as stock tickers and search filters. They provide screen reader users with access to complicated, interactive widgets like date pickers.

Important: The first and most fundamental guideline of ARIA is always to utilize native HTML unless making an element accessible in any other way is impossible.

8. Select An Accessibility-Friendly Content Management System

A content management system is a program or set of tools that allows you to create, modify, organize, and publish information on the Internet. There are several content management systems available to aid you in developing your website. Drupal and WordPress are two well-known examples, but many more options exist.

screenshot of WordPress Hosting category on HostAdvice

When you’ve found a CMS that matches your needs, make sure to choose an accessible theme or style. The documentation for the theme includes accessibility notes and tips for creating accessible content and layouts. When selecting modules, plugins, and widgets, ensure you use the same guidelines.

Tip: Make sure that features like editing toolbars and video players assist the creation of accessible content.

For example, headings and accessible tables should be available in editing toolbars, and closed captioning should be available in video players.

9. Create CTA Locations That Are Simple To Click

CTA (call-to-action) buttons are the buttons you use on your website and landing pages to direct visitors to your conversion target. It’s the section of the landing page where the user must click to complete the action you want them to do.

Depending on your conversion objective and website layout, CTA buttons can come in various styles and sizes. The purpose of CTA buttons is to get your website visitor to click and complete a conversion. The primary business goals for which calls-to-action may be built are lead generation and purchase increase.

Note: When a button design is engaging enough to draw potential customers’ attention right away, it can tempt them to click and proceed to the next step, such as filling out a brief contact form or placing a product preorder.

You can add call-to-action buttons to your sites and posts with the Buttons Block. Make buttons, icons, and other CTA elements with wide-enough regions that are simple to click or tap from multiple devices if you’re using Image Widgets to design and embed your buttons. This technique may also be used with text links.

For example, you can add buttons for signing up for a free trial, Buttons for downloading, etc.

10. Make Use Of A Theme That Is Accessible-Ready

You may pick from a range of site designs. Still, some themes contain elements that make it more difficult for disabled individuals or visitors to use screen readers to access your material. Consider an accessibility-ready design while selecting a theme. You can find those themes in WordPress in Theme Section, where you can search for the accessible-ready theme only.

For example, you can use Period by Compete Themes or Mayland, a free visual theme for photographers and storytellers.

The Importance Of Web Accessibility – Why Does It Matters?

Education, pleasure, governance, business employment, health care, and many other facets of our lives are becoming more dependent on the Web and the Internet as a whole. The Internet must be accessible to everyone to give persons with disabilities equal access and opportunities. Why? Because people with disabilities can better engage with society with an accessible web.

Another critical factor for businesses is that, in some circumstances, laws and rules mandate web accessibility, as previously mentioned. Many businesses realize that adopting accessibility has various benefits, such as lowering legal risks, enhancing brand visibility, and improving customer experience.

screenshot of Best Accessibility Tool article

For example, since the company’s beginnings, Apple engineers have been pioneers in the accessibility sector, eager to listen to and collaborate with external stakeholders. By including disability needs in product creation, the organization also predicts market direction. We can add that Google’s accessibility investment gives the corporation a competitive advantage across a wide range of goods and services on this list. A demonstrated focus on accessibility can reflect a company’s steadfast dedication to Corporate Social Responsibility.

Important: The market for disabled persons is enormous and expanding as the world’s population ages. More than one billion people, or 15% of the world’s population, have some form of disability.

Final Words – Website Accessibility Is A Must For All

The general public has used the Internet for more than 20 years. It is no longer a novelty but a vital component of modern life. Innovative organizations recognize the need for equitable access for all individuals by including accessible design into their development and procurement processes.

Why will you do something different and not work on the accessibility of your website?

Your business will reach this market and prosper in surprising and self-sustaining ways if you make a long-term commitment to accessibility. Start using those strategies and feel the difference right away!

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