Church website accessibility

Your church website has the potential to grow your church and at Church Edit we often hear our customers tell us of how they have had new members join after finding out about the church on the web.

However, your website needs to meet the requirements for accessibility so that everyone can have access to your website. We can often take for granted the internet and how easy it is to access visual information, but have you thought about how blind users and those with visual impairments will access your church website?

Visually impaired users will use screenreader software that will read out aloud the contents of a webpage to the user including any links on the web page. The user can use the screenreader to navigate around the site using the links that are spoken out aloud by the screenreader.

To help visually impaired users there are various things that your church website much include to work with screenreaders and ensure that everyone can access your site:

Images

When you add an image to your church website, the screenreader will not be able to describe what the image is to a blind user without help. This is why it is important that every image used on your site has a description called ALTERNATIVE TEXT.

The alternative text should just be a short description about what the image contains so that the screen reader software can read this out and a visually impaired user can then know what the image on the page is.
The images on the right show what the alternative text could be for some example images.

If you are writing your website using HTML then you should add the following code to your image:
ALT=”alternative text goes here” ie :

<img src="/images/church.jpg" alt="Church Building">

The only exception to having an alt text is if the image is part of your visual website design and will not provide any added value to a blind user. In this case the alternative text should be blank ie:
<img src="/images/corner.jpg" alt="">

Church Edit customers should add alternative text in the Image Properties box that appears when adding/ editing the image:

 

JavaScript Menus

If your church website uses JavaScript to create menus then you must provide a non-javascript version of the menu as screenreaders cannot interpret script. 


If you do not have a non-scripted version then a blind user will come to your homepage and then will not be able to go any further as their screen reader software will not be able to access any of the links.

To add a non-script version just add normal HTML links between tags. These links will not show to people accessing your site unless they have JavaScript turned off (in which they would not be able to use the JavaScript menu anyway). As screen reader software cannot interpret the JavaScript, it will instead view the links in the NOSCRIPT tags.

NOTE: All Church Edit websites have accessible links for screenreaders.

Linking to other pagesLinking to other pages

When linking to other pages it is better to actually have the title of the page you are link to as the link name rather than 'Click here'.

So if you were linking to a page on Parents and Toddlers rather than using the text:
To find out more about Parents and Toddlers click here.

It would be better to use the text:
To find out more see our Parents and Toddlers page.

Visually impaired users can use tab on a webpage to go from one link to another allowing the screen readers to read out just the links in a page rather than reading out the whole of the webpage. Doing this under the first scenario, the screenreader would read out 'Click here' as the link which does not help at all with navigating around the site. But by using clear name titles as the links it will make it much more clearer for blind users using your site.