Web accessibility is a term that is often heard in the halls of web developers and website managers, but it’s not always clear to everyone what that means. In general, accessible websites are designed to be more compatible with assistive technologies such as screen readers used by people with disabilities. A great way to help your site become more accessible is by using the accessiBe plugin.
Today we will explain the benefits of using the accessiBe plugin and how it can make your website more compatible with screen readers, one of many types of assistive technologies people with disabilities often use to browse online content. The article also includes a list of other plugins that can aid in web accessibility. Let’s get started!
What are the benefits of screen readers?
Screen readers are pieces of software that read aloud what’s displayed on a website to people with visual impairments. Screen readers may be somewhat similar to text-to-speech tools, but their power is in how they allow people to navigate through web content using keys or special key combinations. This makes it possible to browse and use a website even if the person doesn’t have complete motor control and cannot move their hands or easily see what is on-screen. Before we go any further, let’s make sure we’re all familiar with some of the most popular screen readers:
JAWS (Job Access With Speech) – The most popular screen reader used by people who have a visual disability.
NVDA – An open-source alternative to JAWS that can be downloaded for free from their site.
ChromeVox – A screen reader built into the Google Chrome browser, available for Mac OS X, Linux, and Windows computers.
VoiceOver – A built-in screen reader for Apple products such as Mac OS X, iOS, and their line of laptops, desktops, and tablets.
VoiceOver is the default option in Apple operating systems, but it can also be installed on other platforms. There are also alternatives to VoiceOver available that work with different browsers, including Firefox and Opera.
How does accessiBe make websites compatible with screen readers?
The accessiBe plugin is meant to be a complementary tool that gives screen reader users increased functionality. It does this by adding semantic markups and keyboard navigation support to the content of your website, all of which help make your pages more compatible with assistive technologies. Let’s take a look at what each one of these features does.
When you install accessiBe, the plugin automatically adds semantic markups to your website’s content so it can be read out loud more efficiently by screen readers. These new tags are compatible with JAWS and NVDA, but not all screen readers support them yet, making this plugin a plus. Here’s an example of how these tags look:
Semantic text: ” This website contains interesting information about <cite>accessibility</cite>. Learn more by reading the article on our blog. “
As you can see, the semantic markups add helpful information to your content and make it easier for screen reader users to find the information they need, allowing them to navigate more efficiently. Keyboard navigation
The plugin also adds keyboard navigation support, which means your visitors can use their computer’s keyboard instead of a mouse to browse from page to page on your website. This is very useful for people with motor disabilities as it reduces the amount of effort required to access your content.
In short, the accessiBe plugin helps make your website more compatible with screen readers, one of many assistive technologies people with disabilities use to navigate online content. It does this by adding semantic markups to your pages and keyboard support for visitors, making it possible for screen reader users to access everything on your site using less effort.