What does Accessibility in Design Mean?
Accessibility in design refers to the degree a digital product or service can be used by everyone. The concept of accessibility exists to help accommodate all types of users in as many contexts as possible. It is founded on the premise that websites should be designed in a way everyone can use them irrespective of their situation, impairment or age.
Accessibility in design is not just the ethical, moral and sometimes legal thing to do — it is also good for business. The World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) developed the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) that define international standards for improving web content accessibility among people with disabilities.
Accessibility in design can be achieved in a myriad of ways such as:
- Making a website navigable for persons using screen readers.
- For color blind users, getting rid of links that rely on color to show their clickability or removing color on graphs that convey their data.
- For users with strained or poor eyesight, using a large enough font and ensuring a good text-background contrast ratio ensures readability.
- For individuals grappling with autism and other forms of cognitive impairment, keep design simple, clean and clutter-free to eliminate distractions.
- For video content, use captions and subtitles to accommodate persons with auditory impairment or those who want to watch on low volume or in silence.
- To embed accessibility in the design process, organizations should:
- Have an inclusive mindset.
- Incorporate accessibility from the start. Do not make it an afterthought.
- Embrace diverse personas that include people grappling with disabilities such as hearing, vision, mobility/motor and cognition.
Accessibility in design has a substantial positive impact on the user experience while demonstrating a business’ commitment to social and ethical responsibility. Ultimately, accessibility leads to better designs for all.