Drupal 8 improvements to meet Web Accessibility Standards

Feb
16

If you decide to provide an online presence for your business and create a site or app, then you must make sure your web resource is accessible for all kinds of users, at any time and using any device possible. You may offer website accessibility monitoring to detect technical problems, server mistakes, code errors or viruses. However, beside malfunctions and security threats, your resource might be unreachable because of one more reason we are going to highlight in this article. For example, your site may be not adapted to users with physical disabilities. So, read how to make your web resource accessible to everyone and how Drupal 8 can help you.

Who do Web Accessibility Standards help?

There are lots of people who are deprived of the ability to see, hear or move, either fully or partially. Their physical disabilities cause some differences in perceiving information. Web Accessibility Standards takes into consideration their specific needs and provides solutions, helping them to access the web as easily as possible.

Also, if you are a site owner, applying Web Accessibility Standards helps you to not lose part of your audience, as more than half of people with impairments use the internet frequently. Also, if your web resource is inaccessible for these people and isn’t adapted to their needs, and you violate Title III of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), this could result in problems for your brand and even lawsuits.

What accessibility features does Drupal 8 have?

WAI-ARIA and HTML5 markup

WAI-ARIA stands for Web Accessibility Initiative — Accessible Rich Internet Applications. It focuses on making advanced web content and apps accessible for those users who have some disabilities. Drupal 8 markup was enhanced to ease navigating process for visually impaired users, as they rely on the site markup greatly when using different assistive technologies. HTML5 makes pages more semantically correct. Screen readers can now more easily recognize ARIA roles, states and properties. Also, if dynamic page content is updated, those programs aimed at converting textual content into synthesized speech can receive alerts with no need to reload a page.

Alt text for images

An alt text or alt attribute is a verbal description of the image. People with sight impairments are unable to perceive information through the visual channel, but they are able to do it through the auditory one. They usually use programs that read printed text out loud. In this case, an alternative text version of an image is a nice way to explain to them what is displayed on a screen.

In addition, it’s a nice way to improve your SEO and increase traffic to your site. This is because alt text allows search engines decipher the subject of an image and show this image in SERP according to a relevant query. So, when sighted users are carrying out an image search they are more likely to find your picture, click through it, and visit your page.

That’s why you should try to make your alt text complete and understandable. Make sure it conveys the same main information that your picture contains. Don’t write just one word, but include as many details as possible. Let visually impaired people imagine precisely what is depicted without losing the essence of the photo, and search engines will find your image and rank it highly.

Color contrast

Drupal 8 increased contrast ratio of colors and visibility of page elements. This made the default background darker. This is not a prominent enhancement, but it is a step to meet WCAG (Web Content Accessibility Guidelines), namely color contrast accessibility standard. This helps users read text more easily without making their eyes tense and tired very quickly.

There are many tools to check your foreground and background color combinations and see whether they can pass the test or not. You can use​ WebAIM, Colour Contrast Check, Luminosity Colour Contrast Ratio Analyser, Vischeck, Sim Daltonism or any other tool.

Underlined links

It’s not enough to mark links only with color, because visitors who have color blindness (a.k.a. color vision deficiency) can’t distinguish the different colors of your text, notice your links and use them. Thus, Drupal 8 keeps hyperlinks underlined.

Drupal 8 provides unlimited possibilities for creating web resources that are easy to navigate for people with disabilities. Make your site accessible to all interested Internet users, and​ we will help you.

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