According to the World Health Organization, approximately 1.3 billion people live with a vision impairment. Making sure that your website is accessible to ALL who visit, including those with visual impairments, helps to avoid a potential lawsuit for violating the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).
Here are a few things you can do to update the content on your healthcare website so that it’s more accessible.
Optimize your images using strong alt text descriptions
Alternative text (alt text) provides a text alternative to online non-text media such as images, graphics, infographics etc. Alt text descriptions increase your website’s accessibility for those with vision impairments who may use a screen reader. When a screen reader encounters images on a web page, it reads the alt text provided aloud, allowing the content or function of the image to be understood by the user.
Beyond accessibility, alt text also helps with your SEO efforts by providing search engines with more information about what’s on a specific web page. Like screen readers, search engines can’t analyze an image, they can only understand the text.
When writing a good alt text description, be sure to:
- Be concise and describe your image accurately.
- When the image is only text, use the text within the image as your actual alt text.
- Include a description in your alt text If the image is used to direct your website user to another page.
- Do not use the phrases “image of” or “graphic of” in your alt text description.
- Create simple, optimized image titles and file names that describe the image. Your file name will not only help search engines and screen readers understand what the image is about, but serve as a way to include some keywords for SEO.
Think about accessibility when using other media such as videos and PDFs
As the use of video continues to increase, be sure to:
- Create and post transcripts for all your website videos. YouTube offers a free option to capture and create video transcripts. Be sure to review and adjust these transcripts before posting them to your website.
- Use search-friendly file names, for example, dr-smiths-knee-replacement-seminar. Lower case, hyphenated file naming conventions are not only good for search engines and screen readers but also allow you to easily identify files when linking to or removing files.
- Use closed captions for your video content. Again another free option provided by YouTube that you can take advantage of.
Have your developer use markup data, or schema, for images
Schema markup is structured data is used by search engines to better understand the content on your page. It is also used to provide better search results. Schema can be used to mark up physician profile pages, location detail pages, condition and treatment pages, and more.
Always consider accessible marketing when adding and updating your website’s content
Accessible marketing is all about creating content that can be understood by all users. Following the suggestions above will help you meet your website content’s accessibility requirements and improve your users’ overall experience.
Practis is here to help.
Not sure if your healthcare website is compliant. The Practis Website Accessibility Program is designed to help healthcare organizations diagnose, achieve and maintain ADA compliance. Contact us today for more information.