5 Key Steps for Accessible SME Website Creation

Developing a user-friendly website for SMEs entails a few critical actions: Adhering to the established standards of web accessibility to ensure inclusivity is essential. Continuous accessibility evaluations are necessary to enhance the user experience. Incorporating alternative text for images not only boosts SEO but also enhances accessibility. Ensuring that all users can navigate efficiently using a keyboard is crucial. Utilising screen readers to test your site aids in making it accessible to those with visual impairments. These actions are paramount in fostering inclusivity and improving usability.

Focus on these strategies to make your website more accessible and user-friendly. Regularly updating your website to meet accessibility standards shows commitment to inclusivity. By integrating alternative descriptions for visual content, you enhance both search engine visibility and accessibility. Ensuring keyboard-friendly navigation and testing with screen reading software are essential steps in creating a website that is accessible to a wider audience, including visually impaired users. Prioritising these key steps can significantly increase your website's inclusivity and user engagement.

Understanding Website Accessibility Standards

Grasping the importance of meeting website accessibility standards is vital for ensuring everyone can use websites easily. This includes focusing on colour contrast and text readability. High colour contrast between text and its background is essential so that people with visual impairments can read without strain. For instance, using a dark font on a light background can make a significant difference.

Moreover, enhancing text readability by selecting clear fonts and suitable text sizes makes the website more navigable for all users. A practical example is opting for sans-serif fonts like Arial or Helvetica, which are generally easier on the eyes, and making sure the text size can be adjusted by the user.

These adjustments, though they may seem simple, play a crucial role in making a website more accessible. They offer a better browsing experience for individuals with various disabilities. Websites that consider colour contrast and text readability are not only adhering to accessibility standards but are also extending their reach to a wider audience, embodying the essence of inclusivity online.

Conducting Accessibility Audit

Ensuring adherence to accessibility standards like WCAG is crucial, and this is where an accessibility audit comes into play. It serves as a thorough assessment of your website's components to pinpoint areas that require enhancement for individuals with disabilities. This process significantly improves the overall user experience. It's a common mistake to think these audits are solely for legal reasons. In reality, they play a crucial role in fostering an inclusive online space for everyone.

Understanding the importance of staying updated with the latest trends and advancements in accessibility auditing is key to maintaining and elevating the accessibility of your website. Conducting regular audits not only ensures compliance with the law but also boosts website traffic and user engagement. This, in turn, positively influences your brand's perception.

For example, using tools like AXE and WAVE for web accessibility testing can provide actionable insights into how to improve your site. Moreover, consulting with accessibility professionals can offer tailored advice and strategies, ensuring your website is accessible to as wide an audience as possible.

Implementing Alt Text for Images

In the progression of our conversation on conducting accessibility audits, a key area to focus on for enhancing website accessibility is the implementation of alt text for images. Alt text acts as a description for images, crucial for improving the user experience and ensuring inclusivity. These descriptions ought to be succinct yet informative, offering visually impaired users a clear understanding of the visual content. By integrating alt text, websites not only adhere to accessibility standards but also enhance their search engine optimisation by providing insights into the images displayed. Crafting alt text that aligns with the surrounding content is vital for enriching the overall user experience. Alt text is not just a mandatory requirement; it plays a pivotal role in making visual content accessible to everyone. Here is a table summarising the significance of alt text:

Alt Text for Images
Enhances user experienceOffers context for visually impaired usersImproves SEO by providing insights into the images

Implementing alt text is crucial because it ensures that all users, regardless of their ability to see, can comprehend what visual content is present on a website. For instance, describing an image of a park in autumn might include details like "A leaf-strewn path through a park in autumn, with trees displaying a kaleidoscope of red, orange, and yellow leaves." This kind of description helps visually impaired users picture the scene. Moreover, alt text can significantly improve a website's visibility on search engines by indexing the content of images, which might otherwise be invisible to search algorithms. This is particularly beneficial for images that convey important information or contribute to the site's SEO strategy. Therefore, alt text is an indispensable tool for creating an inclusive digital space and enhancing the online presence of a website.

Ensuring Keyboard Navigation

Incorporating keyboard navigation into a website is crucial for ensuring that it's accessible to users with motor disabilities, allowing them to navigate using only the keyboard keys. Here are some essential aspects to consider for effective keyboard navigation:

  • Keyboard shortcuts: Introducing commonly utilised shortcuts can significantly enhance navigation efficiency for users. For instance, shortcuts like 'Alt' + 'F' for opening a file menu or 'Ctrl' + 'P' for printing a page can save time and make the website more user-friendly.
  • Focus order: It's vital that the focus indicator progresses in a logical sequence through interactive elements on the webpage. This means that as a user tabs through the page, the focus should move from one interactive element to the next in a way that makes sense, ensuring that the user does not become lost or confused.
  • Tab navigation: Allowing users to navigate through links, buttons, and form fields with the Tab key is fundamental. This straightforward method of navigation ensures that users can easily move through all interactive elements without needing a mouse.
  • Arrow key functionality: Enabling users to navigate between elements horizontally and vertically with arrow keys can greatly improve the user experience, especially in complex web applications or pages with lots of content. For example, using the arrow keys to scroll through a dropdown menu or move between items in a list can make these tasks much simpler.
  • Testing for usability: It's important to routinely test the keyboard navigation functionality to guarantee a smooth experience for all visitors. Tools like WAVE or Axe Accessibility can help identify and rectify any issues, ensuring that your website remains accessible to everyone.

Testing With Screen Readers

Evaluating websites with screen readers is essential for ensuring they are accessible to individuals with visual impairments or difficulties in reading. This compatibility is key for enabling every visitor to navigate a site effectively. Through testing with screen readers, web developers can pinpoint and address accessibility hurdles, ensuring the content is accessible via audio feedback. This process allows developers to step into the shoes of users dependent on screen readers, assessing the site's accessibility and implementing necessary enhancements.

Screen readers translate HTML content into audible form, providing insights into how those with visual impairments interact with the website. Engaging in comprehensive testing with these tools is vital for constructing websites that are inclusive and welcoming to a broad audience. For instance, using popular screen readers like JAWS, NVDA, or VoiceOver during the development phase can offer specific feedback on how to improve the site's navigability and content presentation for users relying on audio cues. This focused approach is crucial for fostering an inclusive digital environment.


To summarise, crafting an accessible website for SMEs entails understanding standards, conducting audits, adding alt text, facilitating keyboard navigation, and evaluating with screen readers. By adhering to these crucial steps, SMEs can enhance the accessibility of their website and engage a wider audience. Prioritising accessibility not only improves the user experience but also demonstrates a commitment to inclusivity and equality within the digital realm. By implementing these straightforward yet vital measures, SMEs can significantly enhance their online presence.

At Swerve Designs, we understand the importance of making your website accessible to everyone. If you're curious about how to make your website more accessible or if you have any questions regarding Web Design, Web Design Maintenance, Search Engine Optimisation, WordPress, Web Analytics and Reporting, Website Training and Workshops, Cybersecurity, Local SEO Services, E-Commerce Solutions, and Content Creation Strategies, don't hesitate to contact us. We're here to help you make your digital space inclusive and welcoming for all visitors. Let Swerve Designs assist you in navigating the complexities of website accessibility and beyond.

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