Designing for Digital Accessibility[Approximate Reading Time : 4 mins]
Accessibility is a term that is not fully understood by the users of the World Wide Web. Digital accessibility simply means that people with or without disabilities can use websites efficiently.
It’s not just about disabled users being able to access your website—it’s about everyone being able to access your website.
—Trenton Moss, head coach & founder – Team Sterka
The sites designers build must be universally accessible. Making a website accessible does not mean adding features. Make accessibility part of the research, and pay attention to details while developing it. Making sure that the site conforms to accessibility laws and the WCAG will make it easier to navigate the site.
Designers need to look for ways to understand how the major visual, auditory, mobility, cognitive, and situational disabilities affect usage. A website is useful only when it is easy to access. Getting insights, taking surveys, or collaborating with people with disabilities will help in developing an inclusive website. The Web Content Accessibility Guidelines created by World Wide Web Consortium has a set of simple points that can make a huge difference.
The text and background must have enough contrast so that the text is legible. Similarly, error messages and required fields should be notified by symbols or text, not just colors. Colors cannot be the only means of communication in graphs and charts. Patterns or numbers are used with colors to differentiate items. Forms have visible labels and borders so that it is clear where the information has to be entered. Text size is changeable with simple fonts. Websites must be readable by screen readers and assistive technologies with alternate text for images and video transcripts. Tab navigation is essential.
Audio podcasts have transcripts, and videos have captioning. Notifications and error messages are given as pop-up messages.
The entire website can be navigated using a keyboard with just single keys. The use of focus indicators is recommended. There are no buttons or links that show only when hovered upon. All options remain visible. The use of headings and proper spacing reduce the required number of clicks to navigate the web page and the website itself. The pages must have consistent styling and positioning.
Providing site maps, breadcrumb trails, and definitions/explanations for unusual terms; limiting the number of options; short menus; ensuring alerts and feedback remain on screen until the user removes them; and using pleasant graphics and simple language, all aid people with cognitive disabilities.
Audits are conducted to test the accessibility of websites. It is a combination of manual and automated assessments done by experts in the field to check the site’s acceptance of screen readers, conformance to standards and laws like WCAG 2.1, the site’s usability and its overall digital accessibility. Audits help designers test the sites they develop and allow them to rectify errors in design. Audits are necessary to avoid lawsuits and save on litigation costs.
Technology keeps advancing, and it is all for nothing if everyone doesn’t get to enjoy the benefits. Making the appropriate design changes to include all users and give everyone an effortless and pleasurable browsing experience is the primary responsibility of website designers; their work has the potential to bring comfort to millions. Amnet is a Benetech-certified accessible vendor with the best experts in the field. We offer a wide range of services that will break barriers and maximize user engagement. Know how to make your website universally accessible to support digital equality:Sources