7 Website Accessibility Improvements Hotels Can Be Making Right Now
Is website accessibility an important part of your hotel business? If not, it’s time to make it a priority.
You know that customer service and hospitality start the minute a potential lodger hits your website. You want to welcome everyone, regardless of their disability. This is why it’s so important that everyone can easily access your hotel website. (tweet this)
In this article, we look at seven web accessibility improvements hotels can be making right now.
First, though, let’s look at what goes into website accessibility.
What is Website Accessibility?
When considering accessibility, you want to look at how accessible your website is to people with disabilities. The CDC says, a disability is “any condition of the body or mind (impairment) that makes it more difficult for the person with the condition to do certain activities (activity limitation) and interact with the world around them (participation restrictions).”
You open your hotel up to lawsuits if you don’t make your hotel website accessible to all.
There are many website accessibility improvements you can be making right now, and you want to think about these areas when working on them:
To make accessibility improvements, you want to focus on these six things. We touch on solutions below.
#1: Add Captions to Your Images
One of the easiest things you can do on your website is to add captions to all of your images.
Doing this ensures that even website visitors who are visually impaired will know what your images are portraying.
In addition, when you add captions, screen readers can read the descriptions of the images to share them with your website visitors.
One other perk of captions is that they provide a placeholder when your images haven’t quite loaded. This is helpful for people who don’t have great internet connections.
Simply add text to the alt tag on all of your images. This is easy to do if you’re using WordPress.
When it comes to video on your hotel’s website, you also want to add captions for people with a hearing impairment, so they can read what’s being said.
#2: Use Header Tags Wisely
Did you know that websites are designed with header tags such as h1, h2, h3, h4, h5, and so on?
What purpose do they serve? They help your website visitors differentiate between blocks of content. For example, the h1 header tells people this is the most important section.
Each subsequent header tag is of lesser importance. Your web page should have only one h1 tag, but it can have multiples of the others.
In addition, the header tags are important for screen readers, too. Header tags act as anchors for screen readers. Website visitors can use screen readers to skip from sections of content to other sections.
Header tags help provide a better overall user experience while also giving disabled users access.
#3: Label Your Forms
As a hotel, you’ve got forms and booking information on your website. You want to make sure everyone can book a reservation with you.
So, you want to use descriptive text in your form fields. You want to use the label tag so each field has a description.
Disabled website visitors can use their screen readers to tell them what each field is. This is especially important for online bookings. Screen readers can tell your website visitors what they are making a reservation for.
#4: Enhance Your Keyboard Navigation
You know that most of your hotel website visitors access your web pages with a mouse. They click on areas of the page to get to where they want to go.
When making your website accessible, you want all clickable elements to be easily accessed through keyboard navigation.
You want your website visitors to be able to use the tab key on their keyboard to get from one element to another.
#5: Let Users Change the Color
Most websites today use a darker font on a lighter-colored background. Usually, this is a best practice.
However, you want to allow users to change the color contrast on your website. Some people simply see dark text on light backgrounds better, while others can see light text on a dark background better.
#6: Use an Interactive Toolbar
Some of your website visitors may be older and have trouble seeing, while others may be partially blind.
Both of these people are trying to look at your text.
Make sure your website has an interactive accessibility toolbar so website visitors can adjust the text size to read it better.
On this accessibility toolbar, you want to include audio and video playback options.
This way, if someone who comes to your website is hard of hearing or sight impaired, they can learn what you have to say in your audio clips and videos.
On this same note, don’t use auto-playing videos if you want your website to be ADA-compliant. This is true for the hearing impaired as well as those with sensitivity issues.
#7: Give Your Links a Name
Another website accessibility improvement hotels can make is to use descriptive text for their links. For example, “click here” is not descriptive and doesn’t help a screen reader.
People who can see, scan your website for linked text. Visually impaired users use their screen readers to scan for links. By using descriptive text, you can explain the content of the link to the screen reader.
You’re in the business of hospitality and customer service.
You know how to excel at customer service when guests are at your hotel, and you provide a top-notch customer experience. Guests rave about your hospitality.
You’ve also created a website that showers website visitors with that same hospitality and user experience. But it’s time to ask yourself if your hotel website provides that same level of service and experience to all of your website visitors.
The American with Disabilities Act (ADA), signed into law in 1990, prohibits discrimination against people with disabilities. It says this group of people must have the same opportunities as other Americans.
When looking at your hotel website, you want to consider whether or not everyone has the same opportunities on your website and access to your hotel.
If not, it’s time to remember that customer service begins on your website. Make sure it’s ADA-compliant so you can excel at hospitality for all of your website visitors and hotel guests.
We are your hotel’s digital advertising specialists and can help you position your hotel for success and attract repeat guests to your inn. As experts in website design, we can create a new website that is accessible to all. And we can also help with search engine marketing, online booking, online listings, and social media marketing, we are here to help. Contact us today to start a conversation about your digital advertising needs.
Image: Adriana Saraceanu and Corinne Kutz on Unsplash
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