Creating websites that can be accessed by all users, despite of having any kind of disability problem is called ‘web accessibility’. An accessible web design ensures that people that have any kind of disability can easily recognize, understand, navigate, and interact with the site. It can also be very helpful for older people that can have problems while using the website. When we talk about disability, it is for sure that every kind of disability is included in it.
There are millions of people around the world that face some kind of disability which affects their web using capabilities. These days, plenty of websites can be found as not user-friendly which makes it very difficult for a disabled person to make its contribution to that particular website. When websites will become accessible through the help of new software’s, it will make easy for the disabled people to make a contribution efficiently.
An accessible website is also beneficial for the people that are not disabled. Because, the main purpose of having an accessible web design is providing the flexibility so that user can have best interface experience. Flexibility can also help those people that have other issues besides disability such as; slow internet connections etc.
Therefore, in today article we are going to discuss about the concepts regarding accessibility in web design and what are the guidelines that you should consider in order to make an accessible web design. Let’s start!
Importance of Accessibility
Internet is one of the major resources when we have to collect data regarding education, employment, health, government, and other topics. So, it is very important that those websites that have information for their users are easily accessible by everyone. There are many causes for having your web design accessible for disabled people and others so, that every one actively contributes.
Users That Are Visually Disabled
Users that have visual disability can range from color blind to fully blind. All these users cannot properly understand images that have no kind of description on it. When there is no kind of text on the image, user can have problem in identifying what the image represents. They can also have problems in recognizing several design elements that are not adequately different from other objects that are around it such as the background.
Visually disabled users can also face problems while understanding websites that have no kind of viewing through non-visual browser. Non-visual browsers such as screen reader facilities the disabled people by reading out loud so that; they can access any site easily.
Users That Have Hearing Disability
These users can face problems with their hearing. When any communication is made through sound, they are unable to receive it. A very simple way in which these users can be facilitated is by using alternatives that are without sound, such as putting a description on the image or any other thing.
Users That Are Physically Disabled
It is very hard for anyone to perform any task if they are physically disabled. Imagine using a website without the help of mouse. Almost every website requires your full exposure in order to communicate such as, mouse handling, typing etc. People that are physically disabled find it extremely hard to use a mouse while they are on a website. However you can make your sites navigation and the input methods that can be easily controlled by disabled people, because it might be possible that many of these users are your potential customers.
Users With Cognitive Disability
Plenty of websites have complicated designs. Many of us that are perfectly alright find difficulty sometimes to find out the data that we need. Those websites that have complex structure and difficult navigation can be distracting for anyone. All these elements can create problems for users that have cognitive disability. This can also make some websites to be completely unapproachable for these users.
The interface of your website is for users so; you should always keep in mind to make it according to your users. Many things might be simple for you to understand but very difficult for others to understand. These are the things that you should consider in order to make your website accessible.
1. Importance Of Placement in Your Website
It is very important that you understand which thing to place where on your website. Many people when first come to a site look for a search box on the upper right corner of your website. If they don’t find a search box, they will start to think that there is no search box until they find out that it is on the left side. This is because; we are so used to see the search box on the right side that when we see no search box on the right, we think that there is no search box. Other things including; log-in and log-out should also be accordingly placed.
2. Content Presentation
Whenever you use images, give some quality content as description of the image. For those that have hearing problems, you can use transcripts in your videos and audio recordings. Also, it gives your website a very impressive look to those that have slow internet connections and are unable to load heavy images. Plenty of website are now providing different versions for their websites such as text only version, full version etc. for those that have slow connections or disability problems.
When you distribute the information in multiple ways including audio and video, the audience takes your website as expressive. However, providing transcripts for those who have issues in hearing is a good idea.
3. Make Navigation Easy
Making your navigation easy is very helpful for every user. There are different things that you should look on while planning navigation:
- Always make sure to use pages so that the all the content is not shown on a single page. It will make your website to load slowly.
- Adding table of contents can make navigation very easy for your users. When you provide table of contents on your web pages, users don’t have to read everything to know what the content is about.
- Using a sitemap on your website will make it easy for the user to see all of your websites pages.
- Including a navigation panel comes handy when you are looking to provide easy navigation to the users.
4. Using HTML Tags
Sometimes, header tags are used instead of making adjustment to the font size. However, it can create some difficulties with devices or apps that rely on tags for analyzing.
5. Choose Colors Carefully
People that are colorblind might see your website differently. Text colors can have negative effect when a user that is colorblind sees it. So, the best approach is to stick with black color in your texts because, if the text is colorful it might not be seen by the users that are colorblind.
6. Use Icons And Text For Making The Content Look Better
A beautiful icon can convey thousand of words without saying anything. However, people that are not used to different symbols and icons will find it a bit difficult. Using a combination of these two is the best way and is also preferred the most.
7. Give control to your user
This is a very important factor that you should never overlook. When you give your users the proper control, it will make them realize that you give full respect to them. Provide them with different tools that can help them while they are using your website, tools such as; ability to increase or decrease the font size.
8. W3C’s Accessibility Guidelines
There are some web content accessibility guidelines that are published by W3C’s in order to help you give a better access to your users. There is a checklist for accessibility that you can use for this purpose. It includes different things that every web designer and developer is looking for while planning accessibility. The checklist includes; colors, languages, images and tables etc. for your website.
Creating an accessible website can be a very simple or hard process; it mostly depends on different factors. These factors include; type of content, size and difficulty of your website, and different tools. When you plan your accessibility features from the very first word, you can easily implement them on your website. However if you have fix a website that is inaccessible, you are required to do some hard work for it.
Web accessibility is mostly the responsibility of the web developers. But, web software also plays a very important part in providing a web design that is easily accessible to everyone. So, what do you think about the article? If you have some points that you like to add, feel free to share your ideas and thoughts in the below comment section. I would love to hear about it!