How Accessibility Helps SEO and Conversion Optimization

I presented about the correlation between accessibility, search engine optimization & conversion optimization at SEMPO Hyderabad Digital Marketing Summit….it was fun meeting all my old friends & I would like to take this opportunity to thank my colleague Denis Boudreau who helped me to put this presentation.

Want to dominate search optimization in 2014 and bring more conversions with every visitor who lands on your website? The secret is in building accessible applications that both humans and machine algorithms love. With more than 1billion of world’s population being disabled, you cannot ignore this side of market…Google is disabled too & Google always say’s create crawlable & accessible content.

Want proof check YouTube captions, transcripts & slide share’s text only version…..not convinced then check your Gmail & you can find something called “Basic Html View”…Google , Facebook, Twitter etc. care about accessibility and just by following few simple fundamentals you can build a accessible website/application.

Please feel free to reach out to me for any information & also would like to get perspectives of others in the comments.

Join Tech Share Event held On 13th & 14th FEB 2014 In New Delhi

Techshare India 2014 to be held on 13th – 14th February, 2014 at New Delhi. Tech Share  is a conference and exhibition discussing accessibility and assistive technology at a national level with international participation. Techshare India 2014 will focus on Innovate – Adapt – Evolve theme under four verticals:

• Education – Whether it is primary, secondary, college level or vocational education, it is imperative for educators, parents and rehabilitation specialist to understand how they can innovate and adapt the existing and new technology to support the student with disabilities. If Education for All has to be a reality, we need to bridge the gap in implementation and provide them with the assistive aids and technologies required to meet their needs. It is important that the authorities in charge of education at all levels realize the reach of technology and implement it to attain Education for All.

• Employability – For employers today, equal opportunity is key, how do we integrate people with disabilities into the corporate culture wherein there are numerous hurdles that people face in using the infrastructure whether physical or technological. How can assistive technology be adapted and implemented so as to develop a self-sustainable population.

• Accessible technology – With technology evolving so fast, ensuring that people with disabilities are included and that web, mobile or any technology is accessible is the key question. The technology companies need to see how they can innovate and adopt to the needs of people with disabilities and how they can ensure that their products and services are accessible to all. People from research and development can bring a whole new meaning to accessible technologies.

• Laws, Policies & Standards – One way to ensure implementation is by enforcing laws, policies and standards that will provide direction on how people can implement accessibility & assistive technology. Various government and non-government bodies can come together to spread awareness, identify gaps and provide solutions.

You can find few more details of the Conference at the links below

About TechShare
Speakers at TechShare
 

 

Schedule & Venue:

 

February 13, 2014 — 9:00 am to
February 14, 2014 — 6:00 pm

India Habitat Center
Gate No. 3, Lodhi Road
New Delhi, New Delhi
India

 

 

 

Below is a youtube video of the Techshare conference held in 2012

WAI-ARIA Live Regions

Aria-live regions will help a screen reader user get the dynamic updates on the application without losing the current focus from the activity that is being performed. Aria-live property is extremely useful to make a screen reader user under stand the complex widgets like dynamically updating tables or chat windows etc and the aria live property can be useful for regularly updating news sites, blogs & applications that pull data from social channels, gamification portals etc.

Aria-Live Property

The aria-live property indicates a section within the content that is live and the verbosity in which changes shall be announced. The following values may be used to determine the verbosity,

Aria-live=”off”

Aria-live=”off” indicates that a region is not live & changes will not be announced to the user. This attribute is used when there is a frequently updating content for example tweets & facebook activity that is being pulled into the site. There is no necessity for the user to get these updates by default, how ever user can read these updates by usual navigation.

Aria-live=”polite”

The update must be announced at the next interval. For example when the user stops typing or when the user is waiting for an update to happen & the most important thing to note is that user will not be interrupted by the live region in order to provide the update.

Example breaking news headlines, new offers in ecommerce stores, optin box for blogs etc.

Aria-live=”assertive”

Aria-live=”assertive” will inform the update immediately & this must be used with care as update is announced mmediately this cannot be used in a live region where frequent updates are expected.

For example aria-live=”assertive” can be used for form validation, appearance of new chat windows and one time offer of a product in ecommerce stores.

More examples of Aria live property can be found on the following websites,

Aria live region example1

Aria live region example 2

Aria live regions by juicy studio

Here is a screen capture video explaining all about ARIA live regions & this video is little behind the time, but concept is valid.

Note: I am just sharing the knowledge that I acquired by reading & practicing as accessibility consultant. Lot of this is already available on the web & is sharing it here on my blog so as to make my self an expert in the field & to remember the concepts.

5 Simple Steps To Make Your Website Accessible

Video produced by System Concepts for World Usability Day 2010. This video describes how making your website accessible to people with disabilities improves the usability of your website for people of all abilities. This podcast describes and illustrates five simple ways you can improve the accessibility of your website.

Speaking at digital marketing summit Hyderabad

I will be speaking at digital marketing summit that is going to take place in Hyderabad on Sep 29th, I thought to present on accessibility and go beyond basics. Since this conference is focused on digital marketing rather than core accessibility I thought to do little basics of accessibility and how it can fit in search optimization strategy. But after thinking a lot I want to go beyond this now, I will be doing couple of live reviews of various websites that I visit and it’s going to be really interesting one.

What you will learn from my presentation,

How to create accessible content
How to create great user experience without compromising on accessibility
How to structure your web pages for better SEO
How accessibility will fit into your inbound marketing strategy when you make your applications accessible.

Ideas are still forming in my mind and I am sure this is going to be a great content rich presentation. I am looking forward to do the live site reviews and I will be picking socialsamosa.com, paulwriter.com, digitalsrc.com etc…Need to finalize on which portals I will pick and if there is any specific portal just drop it in comments section.

Want to register for the event then please head to the website www.digitalmarketingsummit.in and get all the necessary details.

Make your wordpress accessible

In my last post I outlined few of the common techniques of making your blog accessible on any platform and now here I will share few of the resources that can help your wordpress accessible as it is the most common blogging platform and my favorite content management system.

WordPress accessibility on wordpress codex

Make wordpress accessible
Is the official wordpress accessibility blog and you can also follow @wpaccessibility on twitter for more information or to get in touch with wordpress accessibility team.

[slideshare id=23661598&doc=chicago-wordcamp-2013-130629111027-phpapp02]

 

This presentation gives a lot of information about wordpress accessibility and I remember seeing the video of this presentation but unable to find it now. I read the text version of slides and being an accessibility specialist would like to listen to the video for technical aspects. Once I get hold of the video link will be pasted below. Must say text version off the slide gave me the feel that this content is worth spending time and energy.

 

 

How to make your blog accessible for the blind readers

I met a lot of blogger’s in last few years who often keep asking me the same question How to make our blog content accessible? I thought to answer the question over here. Most of the blog platforms out there are accessible but there are few ground rules if followed will make sure that your content is readable by visually challenged readers.

 

  1. Choose accessible blogging      platform
  2. Describe your images
  3. Avoid read more and click      here links
  4. Add widgets on the right hand      side
  5. Use appropriate font
  6. check if all forms have      labels

 

 

  1. Choose accessible blogging      platform

 

Choosing the right platform is the key factor in making your content accessible. I personally prefer wordpress as it is the most accessible platform both at the backend and frontend. I worked with joomla and drupal earlier but don’t prefer them as drupal confused me with its backend and navigational elements of joomla in the backend are not very much accessible.

 

Even people with visual impairment can easily signup at wordpress.com for the first time and can start blogging. So choose wordpress either self hosted or wordpress.com one.

 

Describe your images

 

Most frustrating part for any screen reader user while rereading a blog post is images without alternative text. For example you are explaining a story and put a picture and a scene of the story is understood by looking at the picture, how will a person with visual impairment will understand this? So add appropriate alternative text to all images, wordpress provides this option when you add pictures.

 

 

Tips for better alternative text

 

Keep the text brief.

If there is a graphic with words on it then add a text version of it.

If there is a creative picture then explain the picture, this way you create new content.

Avoid abbreviations.

 

Avoid Click Here and Read more

 

Often I find blog posts containing click here to know more or links that do not provide descriptive text. Avoid this methodology as it may confuse the screen reader user. Best practice is to provide with full text like “click here to download the software” or “read more about this technology”.

 

 

 

 

Add widgets on your right hand side

 

Screen readers read any web page from left to right so it is important for us to avoid adding any widgets that may confuse the user. In wordpress most widgets can be added in the left hand side, right hand side or in the footer area. If you are trying to present something valuable user then break the rule of using left hand side widget and please do mention the same by providing an accessibility policy.

 

Use proper fonts

 

Look and feel of a blog is dependent on the theme used so choose your themes carefully because apart from screen reader users there is a large portion of low vision users. Since browsers like internet explorer and Mozilla can zoom in and zoomout the text, test the font once it is chosen.

 

Check if all forms have labels

 

I often see that search area, comment forms and subscribe to blog forms lack proper labeling. Screen reader users cannot understand how to take action if the forms are not properly labeled.

 

Here is a sample of a text field that has been labeled correctly:

< label for=”email”>E-mail :</label> < input type=”text” name=”email” id=”email” size=”20″>

Note that the ID and LABEL FOR must be equal to the same value.

 

 

All these actions can be full filled easily if you got a blog on wordpress as it is the most accessible CMS platform. In my next post I will take you through a list of plug-ins that can make your wordpress more robust in terms of accessibility.