The following article is a community contribution from Ed Carter. Ed is a retired financial planner who runs the site: AbleFutures, where he is working on providing financial literacy for the disabled. He reached out to contribute an article and I am more than happy to help him spread the word! If you would like to contribute an article you can contact me here.
Here is a short bio on Ed:
Over the years, I’ve worked with clients of all ages, backgrounds and incomes. About 10 years into my career, I saw a need for financial planners who specialize in helping individuals and families living with disabilities. Regardless of their nature or how long they’ve affected someone, physical and mental limitations often cause stress and confusion when it comes to financial planning. Many people are unaware of just how many options they have when it comes to financial assistance and planning, so it’s an honor to offer my experience and change people’s lives for the better. Now that I’m retired, I’m committed to continuing my services, even though I work on a broader scale than when I was working 9 to 5. I now spend my free time writing financial literacy articles for people to share on their blogs, collecting resource links for people to share on their websites, and collaborating with like-minded folks who want to make a difference. If you are interested in working with me, please contact me via my contact form. All of my services are free.
Notice: The following article is contributed by Ed Carter. He is the sole author of this post. Please contact him here for any inquiries/comments about this article.
According to data, about 15% of American adults have some degree of hearing loss. Business websites need to ensure that all visitors can fully enjoy the content on their sites.These tips will help you make your site accessible to people with hearing impairments.
1. Make Sure Your Site Is ADA Compliant
The Americans with Disabilities Act requires businesses that are open to the public to accommodate people with disabilities. The content on your website, such as your blog, must be accessible to users who are deaf, blind, use screen readers, navigate by voice or use other assistive technologies. Ensuring ADA compliance protects you from lawsuits and ensures that everyone who visits your site can enjoy your content which means more potential customers for your business.
2. Hire Professionals to Develop an Accessible Site
Unfortunately, of the top 1 million websites on the internet, only 2.2% are fully accessible. Ensuring that your site is accessible to people with hearing impairments can give you a competitive edge over the majority of your competitors. Websites that are designed to be accessible also provide multiple other benefits:
- Better overall design
- Improved usability for everyone
- Avoids legal issues
- Broadens audience
- Improves search engine optimization
- Normalizes accessibility
Creating an accessible site can also boost your company’s reputation. Building an accessible site isn’t a simple undertaking. You may need to hire a consultant or web designer with expertise in creating accessible sites. It may also be useful to have an attorney review your site for any ADA compliance issues. Additionally, consider hiring freelancers or a transcription service to add captions to your videos.
3. Research Ways to Improve Your Site
There are many ways you can make your site more accessible. Ensure that all of your video content has closed captioning and subtitles. Make sure your captions are accurate and in sync with the video. If your site has any audio transcripts, also include a written transcript that is accessible to screen readers. Avoid using slang, uncommon words, jargon, and complex sentence structures when possible. Provide multiple methods of contact instead of just a phone number. You can also go directly to your visitors to determine if your site is functionally accessible. Design a survey that includes questions about accessibility and invite all of your visitors to complete it. By offering participant incentives with this free solution, like a small digital gift card, you are much more likely to get a good response rate.
4. Add Features That Help Everyone
Some design features that aren’t specifically for people with hearing impairments can make your site more accessible and make it easier to use for everyone. Break up your text into
small paragraphs to make it easier to read. Use headers and subheaders to organize your content. Avoid making links and buttons too large or too small. Elements that are too small can be difficult to click when not using a computer mouse. Elements that are too large are easy to click by accident. CAPTCHAs are annoying to almost everyone and can block access to your site for some people who can not complete them. Make sure your CAPTCHAs are accessible or can be skipped if a user can not complete them. Don’t put a timer on your customer’s purchase transactions. Some sites kick a user out of a purchase if they don’t complete it within the time limit. This can make shopping on your site frustrating for people who may take longer to navigate it because of accessibility needs.
Design a Site Everyone Can Visit
Ensuring that your site is accessible to people with hearing impairments helps you avoid legal issues, makes your site better, and increases your potential customer base. These tips can help you get started.
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