It’s vital to welcome all community members and to ensure that everyone has a great experience on your membership site.
However, this can be difficult to achieve if you don’t implement accessible web design.
With membership sites and online courses on the rise for 2023 – you want to make sure that your membership stands out!
“Digital products in full Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) Level 2 compliance are expected to outperform their market competitors by 50% by 2023” (Gartner, 2020).
Making your membership site accessible is key to providing a good user experience for all of your visitors.
Accessibility allows everyone, regardless of physical or cognitive ability, to have the same access to your content. In order to make your membership site more accessible, there are several steps you can take.
In this article we’ll cover the tools and best practices you can implement to make sure your membership site is accessible for all your community members!
What is Accessible Web Design & Why is it Important?
Accessible web design is a form of web design that enables people with disabilities to use and navigate websites. It focuses on creating a website that is easy to use for people with physical and sensory disabilities, including visual, hearing, motor, and cognitive impairments.
Accessible web design also takes into consideration different technologies and platforms such as screen readers, voice recognition, and other assistive technology.
This is important because it helps to create an inclusive environment where everyone can access and use the website regardless of their abilities.
Additionally, it ensures that everyone can use your membership site and its features – with everyone benefitting from the same content!
How do you know if your membership site is accessible?
Now that you’ve got an idea why it’s important to have accessible web design – how do you know if your current membership site is accessible?
To ensure your site is accessible, you should compare it with the guidelines from the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 3.0.
The WCAG guidelines are based on four key principles; an accessible website is:
If you want to go a step further, you can create a feedback mechanism in place for users to report any accessibility issues they may encounter.
With these measures in place, you can ensure that your membership site is accessible and usable for everyone!
Here are 3 tools to help you get started with creating an accessible membership site:
Wave Web Accessibility Evaluation Tool: This is a free online tool designed to aid in the evaluation of web pages for accessibility issues by comparing it to the WCAG guidelines.
It can be used to check a wide range of accessibility issues, and provides detailed reports with descriptions and solutions for each issue.
An easy way to check your current membership site’s accessibility for vision-impaired users is to install Aria – a chrome extension.
With ARIA DevTools you can see your membership site the way screen readers present it to vision-impaired users.
For those looking to revamp the graphics on their membership site – WebAIM’s contrast checker is incredibly useful.
You simply enter your graphics hex code for the main background colour along with the text colour – and WebAIM will compare it to the WCAG guidelines and let you know whether it passes the test or not.
You might change your mind about what features you want, so you need a platform that's flexible.
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3 Best practices for creating an accessible membership site
#1 Add subtitles to your videos
If you create video content, adding subtitles via the AWS feature using AccessAlly Pro’s media manager is a vital step in making your membership site accessible.
Adding subtitles to online course videos allows those who are hard of hearing or deaf to access your course material.
Furthermore, with this feature you can upload subtitles in different languages, to make the content more accessible to those who do not speak the language of the video.
Allowing your content to be understandable to members across the whole world!
#2 Implementing high contrast colors along with adding alt text and text sizes.
AccessAlly’s styling tab is a powerful tool that can help you make visual accessibility changes quickly and easily.
With the styling tab, you can create flexible color palettes with high-contrast colors. Thus, ensuring your membership site is accessible for all users.
You will also want to add alt text to images as you upload them to your membership site.
This is a built-in feature of all WordPress websites, but you do need to be the one to describe what’s in the image so that a screen reader can read it.
#3 Ensure navigation and visual cues are screen reader friendly
Navigation and visual cues are essential elements on any website, as they allow users to find the information they are looking for quickly and easily.
For screen reader users, it is even more important to make sure these elements are accessible and screen-reader friendly.
The AccessAlly plugin and theme are screen reader friendly – ensuring that users can navigate directly to the main content, without having to go through other elements first through the use of jump links.
Start making your membership site accessible today!
With the AccessAlly WordPress plugin, you can add features such as video subtitles, and take advantage of the color settings to make sure there is high contrast readability for members.
You can also make it easier for users to navigate through the site with built-in jump links, and user-friendly navigation menus. Making it easier for users with screen readers and hearing impairments to use your membership site!
Overall, accessibility is an incredibly important issue that all websites should prioritize.
Whilst there is more progress to be made with the web at large, there are many ways to make existing membership sites more accessible to individuals with disabilities.
By creating an inclusive environment, you can provide an equal opportunity to users of all abilities to access your website and its resources.
This opens the door to a larger audience, more engagement, and a greater sense of inclusion.
With the right tools and techniques, website accessibility is attainable, and the potential benefits are worth the effort!