UX Design

What exactly is accessible design?

August 26, 2022
Credit to Anna Yashina

Accessible design refers to a design approach that considers the requirements that persons with various types of disabilities may have. Accessibility can relate to the quality of individuals with disabilities being able to use services, products, and other facilities independently.

Accessibility as a concern for design has a long history; however, public awareness about accessibility has risen with legislation such as the Americans withDisabilities Act (ADA), which requires that public services and facilities be completely accessible to individuals with disabilities. This increased the number of UI designers and UX designers who were aware of accessibility issues.

What Are the 4 Accessible Web Design Requirements?

The following are four fundamental areas to concentrate on that will help you achieve the requirements of the WCAG on the user interface design. These areas will help you develop your website design and make implementation more accessible to persons with disabilities

Contrast & Colour

The utilisation of colours is among the most significant factors of accessible web design to consider. Because there are many types of vision impairments, including colour blindness, colours play an important part in designing accessible websites. When certain colour combinations are applied poorly, they have the potential to prevent people from seeing text and objects.

It is important to utilise colours that provide contrast, particularly for information displayed on colour backdrops. It is essential that all users, even those who have limited vision or colour deficits, can read the text and other items displayed on the screen. Text and interactive components must have a colour contrast ratio of at least 4.5:1 to comply with the AA's minimum requirements. This ratio determine show bright or dark colours look on a screen (7:1 for AAA minimum).

Font sizes & Typography

Typography and the size of fonts on a website are also significant for website accessibility since they allow people to read the web content easily and comfortably. The following are some things that can be done to make information on websites easier to read:

  • When writing the body content, use a sufficiently large font size; the bare minimum should be 16 px.
  • Do not make the lines excessively long or excessively short; keep a line length that makes reading pleasant.
  • Choose a typeface that emphasises clarity and legibility no matter what size it is displayed in.
  • Make use of headings to convey a sense of visual hierarchy, but avoid selecting heading tags solely for reasons of aesthetics.
  • Determine an appropriate line-height for individuals to read smoothly by considering the type size and line width.

Video, Images, and other media

All users must have access to the website's media, which includes photographs, videos, audio scripts, and other types of content. Including descriptive alt text in photos is the simplest approach to making images on your site more accessible to users with disabilities.

The term "alt text," which is an abbreviation for "alternative text," assists in describing what we perceive in an image. This alternative text will represent the image(s) on the page for users of a website who are accessing the page with a screen reader or another assistive technology. (Here's a pro tip:You should also optimise the alt text with relevant keywords for search engine optimisation purposes.)

When it pertains to videos, several approaches may be taken to guarantee that consumers will have access to the video content:

  • Captions; Make it possible for viewers to activate the captions for a video they are watching.
  • Transcripts; Provide a document with a transcript that details the entire video.
  • Video players are accessible; because video files can be a bandwidth strain on a website, it is best to get your videos from other sources such as YouTube and Vimeo. Providing the video controls enables users to have complete control over the video player.

Mobile accessibility

The relevance of designing for the accessibility of mobile devices is only going to grow. Mobile devices, as opposed to desktop computers and laptops, are being used by an increasing number of internet users nowadays. Accessibility on mobile devices is important for all users of the web, not just those with disabilities.

Handheld phones' relatively tiny screen size is one of the most prominent problems caused by these gadgets. Because of the small screen size, there is a practical cap on the amount of information that can be viewed all at once by a user. The solution to this issue can be found in several recommended approaches.

To begin, you have the option of reducing the quantity of information that is shown on mobile devices. A further advice is to use text sizes that are readable by users even when seen on devices of a reduced resolution. When designing for mobile, it is essential to ensure that there is sufficient white space between each of the interactive elements. If this is implemented, users will be less likely to accidentally tap on the inappropriate target element.

How Are Disabilities Impacted byAccessibility Design?

Considering the visual aspect of the web, blind or visually impaired individuals will encounter numerous obstacles when navigating a website. Frequently, blind users will employ a screen reader, and they may also employ a refreshable Braille display to translate the website text to Braille.

Users who are visually challenged or have low vision may be able to view a website's content by magnifying the screen or adjusting the material's contrast using various software packages. Users with low vision are less likely than those who are blind to apply a screen reader, yet there are instances in which they will.

Deaf website users, on the other hand, experience fewer obstacles on online than blind and visually-impaired participants. The majority of deaf Internet users face the most difficulty with audio-based content. Problems with video accessibility can be resolved by giving textual replacements to the audio script. When it comes to accessibility, all users with impairments confront their particular obstacles when utilising theInternet.

Conclusion

Do you intend to create a website to showcase your content? Ensure that you contact a UI designer or UX designer with extensive expertise and experience,, assuring that your website complies with all accessibility requirements and standards.

Image credit:
Image: Jason Roy