The web is an important resource, and it’s essential that everybody is provided with equal opportunity to perceive, understand, navigate and interact with it. This encompasses people who may have impaired cognitive or physical abilities, but it also gives consideration to people with language barriers or even internet connection constraints.
Accessibility legislation can vary by country, region, and by company type. At Flywheel, following and keeping up to date with the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) helps us ensure compliance. And, always keeping accessible design in mind is just good practice.
At a high-level there are several categories to consider when it comes to accessibility considerations:
Visually impaired users can have problems understanding websites clearly. Considerations include adding text descriptors or tags to images, ensuring significant colour differnciation between design elements and compatibility with screen readers.
Some websites elements may not be understood by those with hearing impairments. Where sound is used on a website, it’s important to include text descriptors or images that communicate the same message.
Limitations can include not being able to use a keyboard or a mouse and to accommodate this, developers need to consider introducing voice recognition. Designers need to also create sites that are easy to navigate and don’t require typing or extensive keyboard use to explore.
Cognitive and Neurological
Overly complex or messy sites can be difficult to navigate and understand. Keeping menus and navigation consistent and introducing clear design elements are important considerations to ensure accessibility compliance.
One of the biggest factors in user satisfaction is page load times and speed of response. With the rapid increase of internet access in the far north and in developing countries, we’ve seen an increase in low bandwidth users which must be considered.
Accessible design and development opens you up to reaching a lot more customers. According to current figures, 15% of users can benefit from accessibility considerations. Increase that percentage to represent users who may have a challenge with a specific language or circumstance and you’re looking at a high proportion of your prospective audience. At Flywheel we build websites to high accessibility standards; ensuring that all legislative compliance needs are met and exceeding that by creating excellent user experiences across the board.
Author: Sandra Moffatt