I'll admit: when I started working in web communications I thought of web accessibility as the wet blanket of web design and technology. It seemed as if my teams would be having a great brainstorming session over a new element or feature, and then the idea(s) would be crushed by someone saying, "but that doesn't meet accessibility requirements." Womp womp.
I only started to realize how important web accessibility was after I watched, via user testing, individuals with disabilities attempt to navigate sites that were poorly constructed for their needs. Further, when I started researching accessibility more deeply, I was struck by how many millions of individuals may need accommodations. Bottom line: if you want your content to be consumed, you need to make it consumable. To everyone. Easily.
Once I recognized the importance of web accessibility I changed my frame of mind and I really saw making accessible web sites as a fun challenge! How can we surprise and delight all users?
As I work through these challenges, I find myself utilizing a number of resources over and over. Here are my recommendations for free, easy-to-use web accessibility resources:
- WebAIM.org: Without a doubt, my number one most-used resource. The articles and examples throughout are fantastic. Moreover, I find myself using the Color Contrast Checker on nearly every project. Additionally, their primer on Web Accessibility for Designer is an excellent, quick link.
- RGBtoHex: If you're confirming color contrast, the best thing you can do is get the Hex value from the designer. On the occasions where that's not possible (or I'm impatient), I'll use my Mac color dropper to get RGB and then I'll convert to hex using this resource.
- Google Accessibility: No one gives out as much free content or information as Google in my opinion. Their resources for designers, developers, and communicators are unparalleled and you could dig through these for long periods of time and still not hit the bottom of the barrel.
- Adobe Content Corner: I find that even when people make accessible websites, they often forget about attachments and uploads — namely, PDFs. Adobe provides plenty of information about creating accessible PDFs and fixing inaccessible PDFs on their blog.