Some companies, especially small businesses, have concerns that website accessibility is cost prohibitive. They may want to ensure their websites are accessible to all their customers but don’t know if they can afford it. Accessibility is an investment that pays off, but it doesn’t have to be expensive to get started.
How to improve web accessibility for little to no cost:
- Get a free accessibility assessment.
- Learn what accessibility updates you can make yourself.
- Use free assistive technology and accessibility tools.
- Read content and continue learning from the accessibility community.
- Publish an accessibility statement.
- Create a long-term plan to full accessibility compliance.
Get a free accessibility assessment
Everyone can take advantage of a free graded report and overview of potential accessibility issues on their site.
Our free scan tests against common Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.1 checkpoints and provides an industry comparison. This can be helpful to get a general idea of how accessible your website it and how it fares against other companies in your industry.
It’s a helpful starting point (but does not fully assess or prove accessibility compliance).
Learn what accessibility updates you can make yourself
Some website accessibility improvements should be made with the help of trained subject matter experts. Others you might be able to fix yourself.
Check into the following and see if you can make updates to these elements quicky on your own:
- Provide image alt text. Including accurate alternative text for images is one of the most effective ways to immediately make content more accessible. Get started by reading How Do I Know If an Image Needs Alt Text?
- Check color contrast. Making content easier to read by using color combinations with enough contrast can help everyone. Get started by reading The Basics and Importance of Color Contrast for Web Accessibility.
- Update heading tags. Headings play a big role in helping people navigate and understand content, but make sure they’re coded properly to work for everyone. Get started by reading Why Headings Aren’t Simply Style Elements.
- Check keyboard accessibility. Even if you don’t know how to fix keyboard accessibility issues right away, you can start to check for them to make sure keyboard users can access all your content. Get started by reading Give Yourself an Accessibility Test: Don’t Use a Mouse.
Search or scroll through our blog to find guidance on other areas you might want to tackle yourself.
Use free assistive technology and accessibility tools
While reliable testing should be done by trained subject matter experts and native assistive technology users, there a number of tools you can start using today to help you improve accessibility on a budget.
Here are some to check out:
- Screen readers. If you have a modern smartphone running iOS or Android, you have a screen reader in your pocket. VoiceOver comes with every iPhone and TalkBack is built into the Android operating system. On a desktop or laptop computer running Windows, you can download the NVDA screen reader for free. Be sure to check out our self-paced NVDA training course, too.
- Color contrast validator. The a11y® Color Contrast Validator provides a free color contrast analysis. Everyone is welcome to check the color contrast compliance of any color combination or a full web page.
Read content and continue learning from the accessibility community
Accessibility professionals publish a lot of helpful content and so much of it is available for free. Making a point to read and follow this material can help you find new opportunities for improving accessibility, technology tips and tricks, updates in the accessibility industry, and much more.
Here is a great reading and subscription list to start you off:
- Subscribe to our monthly newsletter to stay caught up (and access past editions back to 2018).
- Bookmark and subscribe to our blog so you never miss an article.
- Download your free copy of the Developing the Accessibility Mindset eBook.
- Get your common questions answered with your free Essential Guide to ADA Compliance for Websites eBook.
- Learn how to get mobile accessibility right with your free copy of the Definitive Mobile Accessibility Checklist.
- Get in-depth guidance with your free copy of the Definitive Website Accessibility Checklist.
Publish an accessibility statement
An accessibility statement is now an expectation on websites that care about providing equal access to their visitors — and you don’t need to wait until your website is fully accessible to publish one.
That’s because an accessibility statement is more about publicizing your commitment to accessibility than guaranteeing that there won’t be any barriers. In fact, a good accessibility statement might include known accessibility issues and what the plan is to fix them. Additionally, consider including:
- Your commitment to accessibility.
- Your target accessibility conformance standard or level (such as WCAG 2.1 A/AA).
- Your plan for how you’ll continue improving accessibility.
- Accessibility contact, feedback, and help options for website visitors encountering issues.
Create a long-term plan to full accessibility compliance
Anyone can get started improving accessibility by committing to it and making the changes they can make, immediately and over time. That said, we will always recommend a plan that includes thorough accessibility testing by trained professionals, remediation of issues identified, and maintenance of accessibility going forward.
If we can help, please feel free to contact us any time.