abilitools stands for personalization on the Web. On the one hand we help you to work productively. On the other hand, personalization is closely linked to another aspect: digital accessibility. This is very important to us. Unfortunately, the barrier-free design of a WordPress website often takes a back seat. One reason for this can be that the effort involved seems too great and yet one is still not sure whether the changes are sufficient. Fortunately, as for so many things, there are practical plugins which can make a page more accessible with a few clicks. We have summarized the most important ones in this post.
Digital accessibility benefits all parties
Accessible design brings many advantages for a website, and not only for affected users. The nice thing about it is that everyone involved benefits:
- People with disabilities will find it easier to find their way around the site without any problems and will not be deprived of services and information. Without barrier-free elements, the website might not be usable for them.
- If more people can use the website without any problems, the number of potential visitors will naturally increase. This can have a big effect on the overall page performance. One study found that British online shops in 2019 were earning around £17.1 billion less in total because they did not pay enough attention to accessibility.
- People for whom the site would be usable without accessibility measures also benefit. Because you always improve the usability of the site. This leads to higher user satisfaction. The improved usability of the site is also honoured by Google in terms of SEO.
With these plugins you can benefit from all these advantages:
This plugin by WordPress developer Joe Dolson integrates a small toolbar on the page that allows users to adjust the font size and color contrast. Most of the functions, however, take place “behind the scenes”. The most important features are:
- Skip-to-content links for better usability of the page for screen readers
- Improved navigation with the keyboard
- Add descriptions and alt-attributes for images where some are missing
If you use Contact Form 7 for the forms on the site, this plugin may help you. It allows you to replace a new standard form with a version that provides barrier-free access. If you install the plugin before you install Contact Form 7, this will even happen automatically.
This plugin integrates on your site the function that users can set their individual font size. The settings are saved per user and domain. If a user changes the font size in an article, the adjustments are automatically applied to all other texts and also noted for later visits to the site. The font can be scaled both by mouse and keyboard.
WAVE is not a plugin but a very helpful tool for every admin who wants to improve the accessibility on his site. All you have to do is enter the domain and the tool will analyse how accessible the website is. You will get a detailed report, where there is still potential for improvement.
Userway is an all-in-one plugin. It integrates an accessibility widget on the page, which provides users with a variety of functions. Visually impaired users can adjust the font size, style, spacing between letters and contrast. In addition, they have the option of having the text read aloud to them. The plugin also allows users to navigate through the site using their keyboard. At the same time the size of the mouse pointer can be adjusted.
The name may be a bit long but the plugin is really helpful when it comes to barrier-free use of images. For all images where they are not available, the plugin adds the description, title and alt text. For this the plugin uses the name of the image file. You should therefore make sure that the file names match when uploading images.
As the name suggests, this plugin allows your users to have all texts read out to them. For this purpose a variety of 51 languages are supported. The plugin also offers a selection of voices, from which you can choose in the settings.
This plugin is integrated like userway a comprehensive accessibility widget on the site. At the same time it optimizes the page in the background. It enables “Skip to Content Links“, which are important for screen readers to quickly find the relevant content. In addition, this plugin also supports navigation through the site exclusively by keyboard.
Little effort with great effect
As described at the beginning, a barrier-free website has many advantages. The mentioned tools help to improve digital accessibility with little effort. So if you see potential in this area of your website, you can choose the appropriate plugins from this list and make your site more accessible in just a few clicks.