Websites are an important way for people with intellectual disabilities to find information and communicate.
But many websites have small text, complicated language, and not enough pictures. This makes them hard for people with intellectual disabilities to use.
It is important that your organisation makes its website accessible and easy to use. This means more people will be able to take part in your organisation's activities.
Consult with self-advocates.
When developing or redesigning a new website, consult with people with intellectual disabilities along the way. Ask them to review the structure, design and content as you build it, so you can include their feedback as you go.
For example, self-advocates who were paid consultants led the development of the Listen Include Respect website. The consultants met as a group 6 times over 5 months. They started by discussing what features accessible websites should have, they gave directions on how the site should be structured and what it should and should not include, and then they met on an ongoing basis to review and give feedback and direction as their guidance was developed into a working website. The group had final approval over when the site was ready to go live.
Use plain language and avoid acronyms.
Headings break up the text and help people find the information they are looking for more easily.
Make sure the hover state is clearly noticeable.
Links and buttons should be obvious and the link text should explain where clicking will take you.
Make sure your website is keyboard-friendly.
Many assistive technologies rely on keyboard-only navigation. To test if your site works without a mouse, use only the Tab key to jump between the content. Check there is keyboard focus on every item of the website menu and text headings.
Make sure your video content has open or closed captioning.
It is useful for people with hearing impairments but also for everyone to understand different accents or people using assistive devices.
Avoid dynamic content.
Content is dynamic if it can change without the page it’s on reloading. Screen readers will only “read” the site as it appears when it first loads so when something shifts the user will miss the new content.
Be open to feedback.
Assistive technologies are always updating. Keep the line of communication open with self-advocates so that they can inform you if there's a new way you can improve the accessibility of your website in future.