Usability issues with Adaptive software and Simple fixes!
Links are one of the most critical elements that are commonly overlooked when building a Web site. As simple as this may sound, many web masters do not know exactly what is able to be recognized and interoperable by screen reading software and search engines! The most common mistakes are creating links in Flash and Java script. Neither Flash nor Java can be parsed by screen readers or search engines. Case in point is www.disney.com. When viewing Disney.com with a screen reader JAWS for windows (a screen reading software) and hitting the “Insert F7 command” the program says “No Links.” What this means is there is no way to navigate the site with hot key navigation or screen reading software. The site is literally inaccessible! This is pretty scary since Disneyland’s slogan is “Where Dreams Come True.”
A simple fix for this site would be to add navigation links at the bottom of the page using text links or using CSS to create links. Using CSS is the best way to correct Java and Flash navigation. With CSS you can get the same effects, exact placement of links and the correct color schemes, and the site becomes more accessible and crawlable for the search engines! It’s a win-win situation. You can download a trial version of JAWS to test your site. It’s a fully functional version of the software, the only limitations are that the program times out in 40 to 45 minutes, but you just have to restart your computer to get it working again. Also be aware that if you are using a high end computer with a gaming card, JAWS will intercept the video and your screen resolution will be altered. To fix this, simply uninstall JAWS, you might have to reinstall the video drivers to get it back to the pre-JAWS functionality.
SSL and certificates or hacker safe images for secure online transactions pages should be made screen reading software accessible as well. People with visual impairments or who are blind do not know if a site is safe or where they are inputting their personal information including credit card numbers. Web site owners must at least have alt tags on the security images or hacker safe images stating that the site is safe and where they are ordering from. All of the images on a site should have relevant information describing images, products or services.
Another issue is forums, blogs, social media sites and e-mail registration lists that are now requesting that you look at an image and duplicate the text and or numbers shown into a form element. This is an excellent idea due to the growing number of spammers and automated computer bots that are scouring the web and automatically filling in forms and looking for e-mail addresses to spam, but for the visually impaired it is impossible for them to interact. Solution: Get an audio sample that will read back the image.
There are many more road blocks on the Internet for the visually impaired. SEO Inc. is dedicated to continuing to find resolutions as new technology is introduced to the Internet. Fixing accessibility issues not only expands your website to a new found demographic and more potential customers, but also increases the crawlability of your site for search engines, which in turn gives you higher placements and greater visibility. For more information and a FREE assessment of your website’s accessibility call 877-736-0006, or visit us on the web at SEO Inc.
Garry Grant is one of the premier experts in the fields of search engine optimization and search engine marketing strategies. This bold statement is proven by Garry’s remarkable track record of successes and a compelling fact: His firm has placed more sites in top positions than any other search engine optimization company. At SEO Inc., Garry is responsible for setting the strategic direction, developing proprietary technologies, overseeing the staff, and setting corporate sales and marketing goals. He has also earned a reputation as an educational — and captivating — speaker.