One of the great things about building accessible websites is that they will work on a host of different devices; whether it be smart phones (i.e. iPhone, Samsung Galaxy, HTC) or tablets (e.g. iPad, Google Nexus, Samsung, Tesco Hudle).
That’s very handy, given the huge changes happening now in terms of how people are accessing the web. Check these statistics from the most recent Ofcom report:
Two fifths of adults in the UK now use a smartphone, up from 27% in 2011 to 39% in 2012.
4 in 10 users say there phone is more important than any other device for accessing the internet.
The smartphone is now at the centre of ‘the connected life’: it’s what people are using to Tweet (23%), social network (30%) and shop.
Unlike in the not too distant past, smartphones no longer expect websites to be built using a special ‘mobile phone language’; making a site work on a phone doesn’t mean creating a completely separate site. In many instances your existing site will work just fine.
Modern mobile web browsers automatically scale web pages to fit within the screen area of the phone and provide the facility for users to zoom into the area of the page they are interested in. Bearing that in mind there are still a few things to think about to ensure your website works well on small screens:
Divide content into small chunks (use of CSS divs to separate individual bits of content).
Avoid very large images.
Avoid having your main content delivered using Flash or other non-text media.
Ensure visitors can find and use you website search, because scrolling is harder on a small screen.
I wrote an article way back in the early 2000’s when I was trying to define what was meant by, ‘an accessible website’ (unfortunately the website is no longer online). Here’s one point I made at the end of the article that seems more relevant now than ever:
“All access to web pages is mediated through some type of technology; if it isn’t accessible to the machine you are using, it won’t be accessible to you. “
Accessible website design is not just about being ethical or being on the right side of the law, it’s also a practical approach to ensuring your content will still be accessible on a range of different devices, including mobile phones.
Reach a wider audience; get a mobile and table friendly website
If your website does not work well on mobiles or tables don’t wait any longer to address that issue; contact us today and we will help you reach more people with your service or product.
The Edinburgh Tenants Federation worked with Jim Byrne in an exciting project to overhaul our branding and website. Jim’s brief was to help ETF develop an easy to use website with a fresher look that would appeal to a younger audience and have increased functionality. We had a vision of what we wanted the website to do, and Jim’s technical brilliance and experience of web design helped us to achieve what we needed. Clare MacGillivray, Development Coordinator Edinburgh Tenants Federation