Considerations in Web Accessibility and Design
There are many resources you can find on how you can create a website but the most challenging part is, how you design your website properly. By the end of a successful web design, the website should be able to accommodate and be accessible by all users, including the disabled. There are plenty of ways to enhance the design to make sure that people who are visually impaired, deaf, have learning disabilities, or who are vulnerable to seizures can easily handle your website and fully interact with it. We will be covering the basics of accessibility and how these practices can ensure your audience will have no problem finding value in the site that you are developing.
Many people who are blind, color blind, or have extremely low vision use computers and go to websites every day. There have been plenty of software programs and hardware that have been created to specifically help these people navigate around websites, such as text to speech programs and text to Braille hardware. When the tools are being used, they rely on the website to have correctly coded HTML, perfect grammar within content, text provided for each image, and links that have relevant anchor texts. By ensuring the site can properly handle the tools that help the visually impaired, you will make it much easier on them to interact and understand what your site is.
Another important part of making your site accessible to people who are color blind or have a hard time seeing is to make important parts of the text underlined, bold, and any other way to differentiate that particular information. This will help to make sure the reader can easily see that the information is important which tends to make them focus on it more. You should also have ways to enlarge the text or images within the site just in case the original text size is too small for the reader to see.
Making a website to accommodate a hearing impaired person is a easy task to complete, but is also extremely crucial. The main areas you should be focused on is any type of video/audio you might have on your site that they will interact with. The last thing you want is for them to get interested in what your website is about, only to be unable to interact with it and understand the video or audio content.
If you have videos or audio content, make sure to implement some type of subtitles for them to read. If you are unable to make adjustments to the video due to copywriting laws or any other reasons, then make a separate video that provides them with the same information in sign language or even text and have the videos playable at the exact same time. All audio only content, such as a podcast, should always have a word by word article nearby. Someone that is deaf would much rather read through all of the content at their own pace instead of trying to keep up with closed captions at the rate of the audio file.
Seizures and Intellectual Disabilities
Having too many flashing effects or visuals can create a lot of problems for people who are epileptic. While you might want to design the site in a flashy and highly visual way, you have to think about the people that won’t be able to handle that type of design. At the very least, make sure to have a warning sign prior to any effects that could affect people who are vulnerable to seizures.
Another thing to think about when designing the site is to make sure that people who have a hard time learning can comprehend the content and is easily readable. Try to avoid rarely used words, use short sentences, and use illustrations or animations to help explain the content better. A lot of informational websites or “how to” articles are much more successful when the content has some type of illustrations or video that helps explain the information.
While these disabilities are what you should be focused on, there are plenty of other ways to make your designs much more accessible to everyone. Just don’t underestimate the importance of properly designing the site for people of all types because if it isn’t done correctly, could hurt the site in the future.