How to make proactive changes to become more inclusive toward your user
You don't always have to be a developer to make a difference to the accessibility of your website. The underlying code holds all the secrets of your site's usability, but there are small steps you can take in-house with little technological experience.
Make accessibility a priority and a goal
We've repeatedly said that accessibility is not a tick-box exercise that can be done once and considered completed forever. It's got to be ingrained into the business objectives. If it's not already, this won't be a simple overnight change.
The benefits of an accessible website might not be fully realised by all in the business so it's down to the individuals who see the value to commit to making it a priority as much as a goal. To achieve this, you might say that for every project you work on, the solution is going to be as accessible as is possible. This means educating people involved in the benefits and encouraging the commitment to spread.
Develop your understanding of accessibility
If you've made a commitment, this should naturally follow.
You can make an almost immediate improvement by learning about best practises. You still don't need to be a developer or designer for this. You can spot the basics.
Implement those basics
There are some efforts that can be made that can make a positive impact almost immediately. If an organisation isn't in a position to employ a person or agency to go through extensive addressing of their sites accessibility limitations, they can make the most of some quick fix suggestions:
Use alt text on images
Use captions on videos
Ensure unique page titles are used on all pages
Ensure sufficient colour contrast is used
Ask questions that make a difference
Ask if your website is accessible? Is it?
If there's a an accessibility policy in place at your organisation, great. Does the website follow it?
If there isn't one, ask more questions. Why not? What can we do about this?
This is how improvements begin to be made.
Can you prove the accessibility?
It's inevitable that you'll have to, soon, thanks to the UK Gov and the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (known as WCAG 2.1).
Not that we should have to be legally pushed to do something so ethically correct, but accessibility is an increasing expectation.
Organisations should be able to prove their site is accessible. You'll be able to show the testing process in accordance with the standards, how it was tested and who did that testing. You'll want that person to be a suitably educated and experienced person on the subject.
If you've done all this, you've made a huge step. If you now need to talk more in-depth to an agency that will create a collaborative team with yours, together we can build a better world wide web.