The Tab Test
How to quickly check if a website is accessible
When I use the word "website accessibility", I mean "website accessibility for disabled people".
I have been talking about website accessibility for disabled people since 2006, it has always been a passion of mine and always will be. The guidance to help website designers create websites meet the needs of disabled people have been around since, wait for it, 1999 and yet, most web designers have not heard about it or do not understand what it really means.
I do not want to get into the technicalities of website accessibility in this blog, I want to keep it nice and simple. This test is so easy, anyone can do it and know instantly whether the website they are on meets the needs of disabled people at a basic level.
Does it light up?
On this website, you will see a row of page links across the top. As you move the mouse over them, they light up in turn. If they are any subpages appearing below, they also light up in turn, as you move the mouse over them. This means you can go to any page on the website with one click of the mouse, nice and easy!
However, if you are blind and you are using a screen-reader, you cannot use a mouse because you cannot see where it should go, so you use a keyboard instead. A screen reader, by the way, is software that "reads" out the web page you are on, using synthesized speech. You use different keys on the keyboard to navigate through the page, with the screen reader telling you each page you are on, as you go. The most basic function is to just repeatedly press the Tab key and what you should see is each page and subpage light up in turn, just as if you were moving the mouse over it.
Try it now on this website and you should see it for yourself. This is a very basic level of accessibility but it does not exist on most websites and yet it can be easily fixed.
Try it on every website you are on!
Next time you are on a website, just start pressing the tab key. If you do not see the pages and subpages light up, it has failed the Tab Test and you should let the website owners know. This can be easily fixed and just doing this one simple thing, will make the website more accessible for disabled people.
There are a lot more things that need to be done, to make a website truly accessible but you have to start somewhere! Next time you are on a website, start pressing the tab key and, if the website fails The Tab Test, please let the owners know!
Changing the World, One Website at a Time!
By doing this, you will be joining me in Changing the World, One Website at a Time!
If you would like a free 15-minute consultation about the accessibility of your website, please follow this link: https://websiteaccessibilityaudit.co.uk/free-consult/ and book yourself in!
Clive Loseby - Access by Design
Beautiful, Accessible, Web Design, Chichester and Outstanding Website Accessibility Audits.
Aren’t all websites accessible for disabled people?
It is easy to know if a building is likely to be accessible for someone in a wheelchair.
- At the entrance, there is a gentle ramp as well as a set of steps
- The doors to get in open automatically as you approach
- Inside, you see a flight of stairs to the next floor but you also see a lift
This inclusive approach is so commonplace with new buildings that you can almost take it for granted. It is clear to anyone that alternative arrangements are clearly in place.
However, when it comes to websites, I am afraid, it is not quite so straightforward.
If we do not have any disabilities that impact our ability to browse a website, it would be really easy to assume that anyone would be able to use the same website just as easily.
Try using a screen-reader, as Mede does. Mede is part of my Disabled Website Accessibility Team and is blind. Her screen reader “reads” the content of a web page out loud to her, so she is able to navigate to other pages.
Something as simple as selecting an item from a dropdown list is either impossible to do or takes forever as each option needs to be read out by the screen-reader.
There may be a photo of a hummingbird but Mede would not know that as her screen reader tells her it is “img2401.jpg” instead.
There may be a link saying “Click Here to join our mailing list”. Click where? Mede cannot see the screen so telling her to “Click here” is perhaps a little tactless.
However, if there were fewer choices on the dropdown menu, an Alt tag stating “a hummingbird” and the phrase “Follow this link” used instead of “Click Here”, the website becomes immediately becomes easier for Mede to use.
You may not know about Alt tags or notice a menu with a lot of choices but you would certainly see the use of the words “Click Here”. Start with that. Make sure you do not use that phrase on your own website and replace it with “Follow this link” instead.
If you are interested in a free initial review of the accessibility of your website, why not book yourself in for a consultation? Please follow this link:
Access by Design. Accessible Websites, Beautifully Designed.
What are the benefits of having an accessible website?
What does website accessibility mean?
The benefits of having an accessible website are almost too many to mention! However, firstly, let me explain that when I use the term “website accessibility”, I am talking about website accessibility for disabled people. In the same way that someone who is disabled might use a wheelchair to help them with their mobility, someone who is blind might use a screen-reader and a keyboard to help them, or someone who is unable to use a keyboard or mouse but can see the screen and uses Dictation Software instead. Two of my amazing team of website accessibility testers, Mede and Sara, fall into these categories.
Keeping it real
Anyway, when I talk about website accessibility, I always use real-world examples to explain the concept, it is always much easier. You do not need to understand coding standards, WCAG guidelines, assistive technology or any of the other slightly confusing terminology that exists around website accessibility, as long as you understand the concept. The rest is for your web developer to sort out!
A real life example
You have a narrow doorway. It is too narrow to get through in a wheelchair but it is also difficult for someone with a pram, or carrying heavy bags of shopping to get through. The doorway gets widened and now someone in a wheelchair can get through. Not only that, someone with a pram or with heavy bags of shopping, or even both, can get through with ease!
If you understand this concept, you will realise that everyone benefits, not just disabled people. A more accessible world is easier for everyone!
Check out my TEDx Talk
If you would like to find out more, please check out my TEDx Talk. After this talk, I guarantee that you will never look at a website in the same way again! Please follow this link to watch it:
#accessibility #equality #diversityinclusion #webdesign
If you are interested in a free initial review of the accessibility of your website, why not book yourself in for a consultation?
Please follow this link to do so:
Access by Design. Accessible Websites, Beautifully Designed.
Outstanding Website Accessibility Audits
Award-winning web design, Chichester.