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6 Ways to Boost Website Accessibility for Your Eyecare Practice

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9 min read

Review six tips for improving your eyecare practice's website accessibility for users who rely on assistive technologies.

6 Ways to Boost Website Accessibility for Your Eyecare Practice
Your practice’s website is just as important as any other aspect of your online presence. With the increasing prevalence of digital technology, it's essential to remember that optimizing for web accessibility lets everyone interacting with your brand have the best experience possible, especially those who rely on screen readers and other assistive technologies due to visual impairments or different abilities.
In this article, we’ll explore the evolution of web accessibility, why it’s important for eyecare practice websites, and ways to make your website more accessible.

A brief background of the World Wide Web

Tim Berners-Lee is recognized for introducing the World Wide Web in 1989, revolutionizing how information was shared and accessed online. In 1994, he formed the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) to standardize the web’s best practices.
These standards became known as the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG), a way to ensure that websites would be designed in a way that anyone could easily view, navigate, understand, and interact with the internet regardless of their physical or cognitive abilities.

What is website accessibility?

Website accessibility is the practice of ensuring that all individuals can make full use of digital information on the internet, regardless of any physical or mental impairments. This includes people with blindness or low vision, those who are deaf or hard of hearing, people with mobility limitations, and those with cognitive learning difficulties like dyslexia.
Just as a physical space is designed with certain features like wheelchair ramps and braille labels to make them more accessible for physical visitors, there are a number of steps you can take to ensure your website is accessible for digital visitors. The overarching aim is to design and structure the site to be as simple and intuitive as possible, with clear navigation and easily recognizable buttons and links.
Depending on your level of technical expertise and familiarity with your web platform, you may choose to regularly implement these accessibility measures yourself.

6 ways to boost website accessibility for your eyecare practice

1. Label images with alt text and descriptive file names.

Images provide a great way to give visitors to your website a visual representation of what your practice offers. To make sure that everyone can access and understand the images, you should label them with alt text and descriptive file names. Alternative text (alt text) is read by screen readers and other accessibility software to provide extra information for people who cannot see the picture, regardless if it’s because of long loading times or vision problems.
For the image below, alt text would preferably read "close-up of patient having eye exam" rather than “image of a woman sitting on a black chair in a white room with a white phoropter in front of her,” because it’s important to give contextual information about what is being pictured, not just a literal description.
Figure 1 highlights an example of an image on an eyecare website with the alt text detailed above that provides contextual information.
Accessibility Eyecare Website Example Photo
Figure 1: Courtesy of Ksenia Chernaya.
When uploading images, make sure that the file name is descriptive and reflects the content. Use dashes instead of symbols or spaces in the filename, and use clear words. For example, for the same image, you could call it “eye-exam-phoropter” rather than “eye1223_98075_2023.”
Each website builder has its own method of inserting alt text into the code. If you don’t have experience with coding or website design, it’s best to talk to your developer and have them guide you on the best way to insert alt text into your website.

2. Check your text hierarchy.

Headings should be used to divide up long pieces of writing and make it easier to read and understand. Each heading on the page is marked with a label that tells us how important it is, usually labeled with H1, H2, and H3. These tags give structure and guidance that help devices like screen readers find important information on the page easier.
The headings are labeled with an importance level, with H1 being the most important and each heading after that in descending order of importance. These labels help readers identify which content is the most important on the page.

Heading levels can be adjusted in the code of most website platforms like WordPress. For no-code DIY website builders (e.g., Squarespace or Wix), the hierarchy can be assigned by changing the font settings manually.

3. Use descriptive text for hyperlinks.

Writing hyperlinks correctly helps make websites more accessible by letting visitors know what to expect when they click on a link. The text for the link should have enough information so people can predict where clicking it will take them, but be short enough that screen readers can quickly understand it.
Avoid phrases like "Click here" or "Read more," as they do not help visitors get an idea of what clicking the link might lead to. For example, if you are linking to a page about eye exams, try something like "Learn more about eye exams" instead of "Click here."

4. Check color contrast.

When designing your website, picking colors can be the most fun part. However, it’s important to make sure those colors work for everyone who visits, including people with vision impairments or color blindness. WCAG recommends a minimum contrast ratio between text and its background, depending on the size of font being used.
Use colors with high contrast for your website to help reduce eye strain and tiredness when visitors are browsing. High-contrast colors also make it easier for people to tell the difference between links, headers, and other active elements.
You can use the WebAIM contrast checker to check if your website passes this requirement.

5. Offer captions or transcripts for audio/video content.

Video content is becoming increasingly more common, especially for medical websites. Video content makes it easier to interact and engage with potential patients in a more interesting way. Many of us are used to seeing closed captions when watching videos. These provide written information about what is being said, making it easier for people with hearing or language difficulties to understand.
Automated services like YouTube's speech-to-text transcription tool can help create these captions by converting audio into text that viewers can view when watching the video. Transcripts are another way to supplement video content. You can either use automated tools, or hire a professional to transcribe audio manually. You might even consider using both methods together so that all dialogue is accurately described.
Audio descriptions are narrations that help people who can't see the video understand what’s happening inside of it. This helps to make web pages more accessible for those with difficulty seeing or understanding written text. Popular video platforms don’t support audio descriptions as much as they do closed captioning.

If you’re creating your own videos, you may want to offer two versions: one with audio descriptions and one without. This way, viewers can choose the version that best suits their needs.

6. Schedule an accessibility audit.

Hiring a company that specializes in website accessibility audits can be one of the most straightforward and time-saving moves toward compliance. These professionals will check if there are any problems with the website design or code using various devices.
They can suggest ways to fix the problems, or you can hire them to take care of all the issues for you. Some will even provide a certificate that proves your website meets certain accessibility standards. Perform accessibility audits regularly, as the guidelines can change quickly with advances in technology.


By adhering to the best practices mentioned in this article, your eyecare practice can create a website that’s more inclusive and easier for everyone to use. Designing with accessibility in mind not only helps you meet legal requirements but also helps everyone access your content. Improving the online experience can lead to increased engagement and loyalty from patients—ultimately providing more revenue for your practice.
Today, it’s never been easier to create your own website. Many website-building services exist for DIY and creative practice owners. These include Wix, Squarespace, and WordPress. Practices can also hire professional website designers through freelance platforms like Fiverr.
Making sure your website is accessible is not only good for people with disabilities—it's good for business too!
Anita Purdy, OD
About Anita Purdy, OD

Anita is an optometrist-turned-web designer and founder of Lunar Lemonade Creative LLC. She's committed to helping her fellow solo eyecare practitioners create professional user-centered websites that support the credibility, autonomy, and financial success of their small

Anita is a graduate of the Pacific University College of Optometry and an active diplomate of the American Board of Optometry.

Anita Purdy, OD
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