How to Increase Your Website Accessibility using ARIA?‎
08 August 2020

HTML is one of the largest and most-used online languages globally, with nearly 83% of the existing websites using HTML. Since its creation, HTML has gone under various iterations and improvements, especially when it comes to accessibility. However, using HTML alone will not fulfill your accessibility needs and may not reach users online.

To maximize the impact of HTML, web developers use ARIA, an important feature to make their websites more accessible to online users. In this article, we will discuss all you need to know about ARIA and best practices for implementing it in your HTML.

So, Let’s begin!

What is ARIA?

ARIA (otherwise known as AWI-ARIA) is an abbreviation for The Web Accessibility Initiative’s Assessable Rich Internet Applications. The main purpose of ARIA is to incorporate advanced semantic structure in the website’s HTML. In simpler words, HTML is responsible for informing the browser where things go, and ARIA tells it how certain elements interact.

Most websites have a structured HTML design that performs quite well in adaptive technology like screen reading. However, HTML has certain shortcomings when defining how elements on the website relate to one another. Thus, ARIA is used as an extension to HTML for increasing functionality and accessibility. 

Why Should You Use ARIA for Websites?

ARIA has become widely used language, with more than 25% of the top 1 million websites in the world using it in their website designs. Around 2% of the population consists of low vision users who rely on alternative interfaces for website accessibility. In most cases, they cannot use a website or see their content fully because of its poor accessibility.

Using ARIA in your websites, you will benefit from reaching low vision users who cannot access other sites as well as yours. ARIA is becoming more popular among website owners as non-standard web interfaces like smart speakers, and voice search is increasing.

If you want to know more about the basics and how to add ARIA to your websites, hire website maintenance services in Dubai today, and make your site accessible for all kinds of different people. It will also help you enjoy a boost in organic traffic.

Best Practices for Implementing ARIA in HTML

Now you know what ARIA is and why you should use it on your websites. Let’s have a look at some of the best practices of incorporating ARIA into your website HTML.

1). Avoid Being Redundant

This is an vital consideration for HTML5 users. If you have an element that is clearly defined in itself, then you don’t have to add ARIA to it. Why? Because ARIA is used to extend an existing code, so it becomes more readable and accessible for the user. But sometimes, the code is already clearly structured and is easy to understand by the user.

2). Use Light Codes

To add ARIA in your basic HTML, you don’t need additional roles and attributes at every opportunity you get. Web designing experts recommend using the least amount of codes to convey all the necessary information. You can think of overusing ARIA as turning your homepage into a full sitemap that ends up overwhelming the users with the amount of information and notifications.

Over utilizing ARIA ends up destroying the whole purpose of its implementation on your website in the first place. Just add additional codes for important elements and don’t do anything unnecessary.

3). Always Test Your Site with a Screen Reader

Another best practice for good ARIA implementation is to test your website with a screen reader to ensure there is no need for improvement. Why is this important? By testing your site, you can tell how all the elements and details function and your website, providing the user with a pleasant experience or an annoying one.

Most of the time, ARIA attributes end up creating too many notifications or pop-up alerts, which makes the website difficult to use. This is most problematic when using the ARIA-live content area that changes after every 10 seconds, which makes your website annoying. 

4). Iterate Accessibility

Always remember that when it comes to enhancing associability measures of your website, you don’t have to achieve everything within one attempt. You don’t have to change your entire site in one day, and the best way to go is to gradually make interactive additions.

When you are redesigning your website, start with the navigation and major content areas, and then slowly move into the site’s core elements. Schedule your time and add accessibility to your website as time goes on to avoid mistakes.

5). Design Good UX and UI

If you want to increase the website accessibility, you don’t only need ARIA implementation. It is crucial to pay attention to UX and UI, especially when it comes to your site’s legibility. ARIA attributes will do nothing for your web accessibility if your website has a poor UX design and is bad to look at.

If you are looking for best practices outside ARIA to improve accessibility, consider “how to implement web accessibility guidelines in website” for more ideas.

Make Your Website More Accessible!

Implementing ARIA can help you increase your website traffic, so don’t miss this opportunity and consult with our website maintenance experts in Dubai today to enhance your website from every aspect.

These are some of the best does to use ARIA for enhance website accessibility from the end-user. By following these strategies, you can increase your website’s reach online dramatically. This is especially good for sites with international reach. Its time to enjoy good organic traffic on your site!