Website Accessibility: How to Make Your Dental Website More Accessible
Dental websites are great for enhancing your dental practice’s online presence, sharing information about your expertise, and booking appointments. Ideally, every prospective patient who visits your website should be able to use and access its features comfortably.
But if your website wasn’t designed with accessibility in mind, it may be challenging for some patients to navigate it. This is why website accessibility is very important—even for dentists.
This article will define website accessibility and discuss six steps you can take to make your dental website more accessible to all visitors and prospective patients.
What is Website Accessibility for Dentists?
Website accessibility is the process of developing and designing your website to be usable by people with disabilities. Unfortunately, many dental websites aren’t designed with accessibility in mind, limiting the number of patients who can actively navigate, interact with, or understand these sites.
People with disabilities may have visual impairments, hearing impairments, cognitive disabilities, or physical disabilities, and these conditions affect the way they engage with digital content. The fact is millions of people, including your prospective patients, are living with disabilities. Some have to use assistive technologies to navigate web content, but even with those tools, your website needs to be responsive at the very least.
If you’re investing in your dental practice’s digital presence, you owe it yourself and to your patients to ensure that your website is accessible by everyone. The Website Accessibility Initiative established the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines to assist website developers, and business owners make their website more user-friendly.
Additionally, here are five steps you need to take to improve your patients’ engagement and experience with your website.
5 Ways to Make Your Dental Website More Accessible
- Make Sure Your Dental Website is Keyboard Friendly
A keyboard-friendly website is easy to navigate using a keyboard, i.e., without a mouse. Other terms for this include keyboard accessibility and keyboard compatibility, but they all mean the same thing. Essentially, patients who rely on the keyboard for navigation should be able to use your website.
Many assistive technologies use keyboard-only navigation, so all pages, links, header menus, and content on your website need to be accessible by keyboard. If you’re unsure about your dental website’s keyboard accessibility, simply test it by trying to navigate your website using a keyword.
For more information on testing and improving your website’s keyboard accessibility, visit WebAIM’s guide to keyboard accessibility.
- Add Alt-text to Images
Alt-text are descriptive words that are part of an image’s meta description or HTML attributes. To put it simply, these are the words that appear in the place of an image if the image doesn’t load. It is also commonly referred to as alt description or alt attributes.
Alt-text is very helpful for patients using assistive technologies or screen reading tools. These tools use alt-text to describe the images to people with visual impairments. More so, it helps Google’s crawlers to learn more about your website’s content and appropriately rank your website online. Read this article by Yoast to learn how to add alt-text to your images.
- Use Descriptive Headers
When formatting your website’s content, be sure to carefully structure your headers and titles in a way that simplifies your in-page navigation. Your headings should clearly state what each page is about. As a best practice, every page on your website should be a maximum of three clicks away from your homepage.
Also, make sure you learn all you need to know about header tags. Each page should have only one H1 tag, and all other subheadings (H2, H3, and H4) should be appropriately nestled under each other.
- Check Your Color Combinations
Color blindness is a spectrum; we all perceive colors differently. So, the colors on your dental website must contrast each other well so visitors and patients can see and read the information on your web pages.
Your text should stand out against your background, so avoid bright-colored text on a bright-colored background. More so, avoid using multiple colors in your web design. Try to stick to two, three contrasting colors. To test your dental website’s color combinations, use WebAIM’s contract checker.
- Avoid Using Automatic Media
You don’t have to be a person living with disabilities to agree or understand that automatically-playing media on web pages are annoying, and in some cases, triggering.
If you have videos on your dental website that start playing automatically when the web page loads, please do your patients a favor and update your video’s settings to stop that from happening. More so, consider getting rid of any automatically-moving image carousels and sliders as well.
Your dental website is an essential part of your dental marketing strategy. It is vital that you get it right and limit any challenges that your prospective patients could have while engaging with it. Use the tips we’ve discussed to start improving your website accessibility. But if you want to make sure you’re not leaving any stone unturned, talk to a dental marketing expert today.