Designing for accessibility is a crucial but frequently ignored component of creating digital products. It entails designing user interfaces that users with disabilities, such as those with visual, hearing, or movement impairments, can use with ease. We can guarantee that all users, irrespective of their ability, can access and use our digital products by designing for accessibility.
Users of all abilities can comprehend, utilize, and enjoy the web thanks to accessibility. Our designers must make sure that our designs are usable by all users, regardless of their circumstances, skills, or context.
The first and foremost step to building an accessible product is to build empathy and install an inclusive design mentality.
Accessibility encompasses all people with disabilities, whether they are permanent, temporary, or situational. For example, having only one arm is a permanent condition, having an injured arm is a temporary condition, and holding a baby in one arm is a situational disability. However, accessibility is not limited to a group of users with specific abilities, such as visual, motor, auditory, speech, or cognitive disabilities. Instead, it includes anyone who is experiencing any disability.
Therefore, the aim is to make web content more usable to users in general.
How do we make our designs accessible?
1. Ask yourself where you are and where you need to go
First things first, a baseline measure.
Before you start, the accessibility of a current website can be tested using the AXE Chrome Extension. (Available at: https://chrome.google.com/webstore/detail/axe-coconut/iobddmbdndbbbfjopjdgadphaoihpojp?hl=en)
The Web Content Accessibility Guidelines, (WCAG) break down accessibility into 4 main principles:
Based on these categories, one can get ratings of A, AA, and AAA.
This complete set of guidelines is available here: https://.w3.org/TR/WCAG20/
2. Be good with Colour
The ideal strategy in this case is to not rely solely on color to communicate information. Along with color, one can also utilize tooltips, thick borders, icons, bold text, underlines, italics, etc.
3. Visual cues
The use of visual cues is crucial when granting keyboard access. Even with a shaky hand, buttons and fonts should be large enough to click. Another beneficial connection is the TAB key link scrolling feature with an outline: 0; enabled in the backend CSS.
Clear boundaries, readable labels, and helper text are three essential components of forms that more modern minimalist designs have begun to omit. For users with cognitive and mobility problems, form fields should have clearly delineated bounds.
Keeping a label on a field is crucial for people with cognitive impairments because labels continue to be relevant even after placeholder text disappears when someone enters in the field.
4. Navigation & flow
Using the keyboard alone is not possible while hovering. Hover is frequently used in UX design for secondary actions while visibility is only used for primary actions. Actionable elements must be present on the screen for users of speech recognition navigation. Give people extra time to enter information relating to time. Allow users to reenter the flow if necessary, as everyone can make mistakes, but those with certain inhibiting factors are more likely to do so.
5. Test with all users
After all these efforts, is also important to include personas with varying abilities in the testing phase and use accessibility-testing tools (such as WAVE and Color Oracle) to test the design.
And right at the end, one can use this final checklist you can use just to make sure your design is accessible: https://accessibility.voxmedia.com/. We are on the brink of creating a new world.
We reserve the power to aim for one where every disability is treated like left-handedness — with a ubiquitous and seamless solution, free from stigma.
And maybe, just maybe, the physical world will hear us too.
Benefits of Inclusive and accessible designs:
Designing for accessibility is an essential aspect of digital product design. By creating user interfaces that are accessible to all users, we can ensure that our digital products are inclusive and usable by everyone. By following best practices and testing with real users with disabilities.
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