What is web accessibility?
It sounds a little bit vague, but it’s pretty clear and simple. Website design accessibility is the ability to create a website that would be accessible to users with special needs. Generally, we assume disabled persons under this term. They can have various health problems, such as eye-related issues (cataracts or color blindness), hand motility problems, epilepsy, hearing loss, etc.
If the website can’t handle enough of an accessibility rate, it may be a necessity to redesign the entire site to make it popular and profitable. It’s not an easy deal. Read the article about website redesign cost to achieve additional information about redesigning.
In most cases, basic accessibility web design doesn’t require a lot of effort during the first steps of a website’s lifetime. Let’s find out why it’s so important and how you can achieve it.
First of all, such an approach grants the ability to create a design that ensures website accessibility for disabled users. In those cases, they can use this site on a par with non-disabled users. It’s one of the key factors that confirm the importance of accessibility in web design.
On the other hand, this term also implies a comfortable surfing process for non-disabled people. To achieve this, the next list of categories must be processed to improve your website accessibility:
- Small-screen device optimization
- The comfort of age-related users, such as the elderly and children
- Situations when the impression is affected by disturbing external factors, such as too bright or dark of an environment
- Stable work in terms of slow, unstable internet connection or — in the case of web traffic — limitations
According to statistics dated July 25, 2012, 18.7% (56,7 million) of the U.S. population has some type of disability. Some of the common health problems:
- 8.2% (19.9 million) have hand motility problems. In those cases, some websites may implement a functionality to control the UI (User Interface) with the voice.
- 3.3% (8.1 million) involve vision impairments, including color blindness. This factor forces designers to develop special versions of websites with an increased font size or a special color scheme for color-blind people.
- 3.1% (7.6 million) have a form of hearing injuries, so web developers need to follow their media with subtitles.
At least half of all U.S. adults with disabilities use the Internet. As you can see, this number isn’t small, so it’s important to ensure that all those users can comfortably use your website.
The U.S. has qualitative healthcare and high accessibility rates This situation may be a lot more dramatic in less developed countries. We understand that the implementation of an additional functionality like voice control may be an overpriced and complicated task, but the basic accessibility web design becomes an affordable price.
Web development for accessibility includes optimizing the website for different platforms. It’s essential to create the custom design that will fit perfectly in all screens and resolutions. Such an approach must maintain the comfort of use. It’s a great mark of designing for accessibility.
The website can;’ need to contain any corrupted or distorted media, stretched fonts, the UI must be scaled properly, etc. One of the great examples of such an approach is Agente ’s website. Like the Metro Exodus main page, they look great both on a desktop and via mobile devices. When the website is amazing on every device, it’ll definitely win in terms of UX (User Experience).
Elderly and children
A great percentage of the elderly suffers from vision losses. It’s hard for them to read the data provided with a small font, so it’s a great idea for designers to implement the ability to scale up the font size. While surfing, old people may ask for help about the webpage functionality. So, it can be a good idea to add online support functionality.
On the other hand, if the website is declared as child-friendly, it must provide great visualization and explanations. A strong and understandable FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions) is required too. Although, in the case of online stores, the site must have the functionality to maintain transaction safety. It may help to avoid the situation when children may use their parents’ credit card for shopping.
We’ll provide an explanation of 2 of the most common issues of that type: bad screen visibility due to the bright sunlight and painful color scheme in a dark environment.
The first one leads to an inability to see the website content in sunny places. To resolve this, it’s an option to use bright colors in the design or automatically increase the screen brightness on the device.
The other one refers to discomfort you may experience while surfing the web at night. Even if you choose the minimal screen brightness, you may feel pain in your eyes caused by a bright website background. Some developers create a custom day/night mode that allows switching between light and dark themes. Such an approach leads to a positive UX and decreases the eye strain during the night periods.
Issues with internet connection
Some people suffer from a slow or unstable internet connection. In other cases, users may have web traffic limitations. To maintain high UX value, it’s important to decrease website loading time and traffic usage. It may be a great idea to create the ability to swap between standard and lightweight versions of the site. Developers and designers can use various optimization methods in the second option: clipped media, reduced functionality, the shutdown of certain scripts, etc.
Web development accessibility consists of numerous techniques, rules and requirements. Nowadays it’s important to provide positive UX and allow people with disabilities to use its benefits. The web provides lots of resources and services to help you improve your website accessibility. We hope that this article helped you to understand the importance of accessibility in web design in the modern world.
Written by Jeremy Stocks
Jeremy Stocks is a technology writer who is interested in the cloud, app and software developing niche. However, he can’t stand mathematics. Stocks has also led courses in visual effects, animation and digital marketing for both the Western Australia School of Art and Design and Murdoch University.
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