The online experience is everything for internet users. Websites that are well-optimized for users always provide a better online experience reflecting their traffic and conversions. But not all internet users are the same. Right now, more than a billion people globally experience some disability that can hinder their access to a flawless online experience. It is essential to prioritize accessible web design, as over one billion people globally experience some form of disability that can hinder their ability to navigate websites effectively.
From vision impairments to hearing difficulties, internet users can suffer from various disabilities. Hence, your brand message isn’t likely to reach them the way you want. For instance, if you’re heavily focused on visual marketing through images and graphics, it’s almost impossible for customers with vision disabilities to experience your products like others.
Hence, if websites want to engage more online users, enhancing the user experience is critical by providing an accessible design for disabled users. By doing so, businesses can:
In this post, let’s find out what an accessible design looks like. What is an accessible design, and why is it critical for disabled users? How can websites improve their design to include users with disabilities?
Accessibility refers to the ability of a user to access all the content just like other users with no disabilities. An accessible design provides a level playing field for all users and benefits the service providers.
In the US, one out of four users experiences disability. An accessible web design is an inclusive design that ensures all users, regardless of their disabilities, can access the website easily. Generally, such designs are developed after consultation with professionals who understand the limitations experienced by disabled individuals.
Hence, an accessible web design offers alternative options for such users, ensuring the user experience is not compromised. Eventually, it promotes the website traffic and gives a better chance to website owners for conversions and good leads.
It’s a no-brainer why there is a big need for accessible websites for disabled users. As the trend for mobile devices keeps growing, people are more inclined toward online shopping, ordering services online, and learning and educating themselves through online resources.
Therefore, the internet is a more convenient option for disabled individuals helping them manage things on their own. When disabled people have a website that looks after their needs, they will likely return to the same website for future services. And since the number of disabled people is so high, it’s a loss for businesses if they miss out on features that improve accessibility.
Even in the era of fast information and data analytics, it’s astonishing to see the lack of websites that offer accessibility to disabled users. In 2023, 90% of global websites will be inaccessible to disabled users.
Therefore, it shows a major need for awareness programs to help understand the needs of online users facing disabilities.
Disabled internet users can experience various kinds of limitations while accessing different websites. Generally, the common disabilities in internet users include:
Visual impairment includes a wide range of visual disabilities, from total to partial blindness, color blindness, and the inability to see color contrasts. As a result, such users can have difficulty understanding the details of visual content like images, pictures, and videos on websites.
Hearing problems can be significantly limiting for users, preventing them from accessing audio and video content. For instance, such people can have a hard time understanding ad content. Generally, hearing problems ranging from partial to total hearing loss.
It’s related to visual impairments, as users find seeing flashy lights and content on their screens disturbing. Generally, epilepsy patients are prone to photosensitive seizures due to bright and flashy colors and lights.
Cognitive disabilities are related to mental issues that prevent users from understanding website content. Dementia, Dyslexia, etc., are some common issues such users face.
Some users can have motor skill problems that hinder proper website access. They can have difficulty moving their head, hands, or other body parts. For instance, people with motor skill issues can struggle to hold or move a mouse or press keys.
When users with disabilities access web pages, their disabilities can make it impossible to take full advantage of the available content. For instance, hearing-impaired users find it hard to listen to and understand the audio content in videos and other forms of marketing. Likewise, getting your message across to visually impaired persons without audio content on the website is hard.
Users with motor skill problems may be unable to click or tap certain options. In such cases, they might need voice assistance to help them navigate the website.
As a web developer or a business website, it is important to understand how people use different tools to ensure a flawless experience. For such disabled users, there must be special functions and assistive tools to help them navigate the web pages. Here are some of those tools.
Hence, adding these elements to your web design is critical to address the needs of a larger audience that faces accessibility issues.
Creating an accessible design is much simpler than you might have thought. Here are some simple steps to help address various disabilities on your website.
To improve the visual accessibility of your users, you can implement the following on our website.
Alt tags are pieces of text that hover over an image on websites. You can explain the image’s content by adding alt tags for images. This is great for the visually impaired who use screen readers to understand web content. Alt tags could read the content in the image out loud for them, improving accessibility for the users.
It’s better to use subtle colors on your website. Not only does it give your web page an aesthetic appeal, but it also helps color-challenged and color-blind users to access the website conveniently.
Avoid yellow, blue, and green colors together for a start because they cause eye strain. Use distinguishable contrasts to help the readers go through the content smoothly.
While it’s easy to get carried away with various font choices and sizes, ensure the content is well formatted with readable and easy-on-the-eye fonts and sizes. The goal is to make it easier for readers to understand the content, so it’s critical for users regardless of their disabilities.
Optimizing your content for screen readers makes it easier for users to access every piece of your content. Whether it’s headings, text bodies, images, and tags, you must optimize the content to allow screen readers to read for their users.
Here are some suggestions to improve audio accessibility for your users.
Captions and transcripts for your videos are essential to delivering the message to audio-impaired users. There are various tools to automatically create transcripts and video captions, so it’s a must-have part of your web design.
Other than word-to-word translation and transcription, it’s also a good idea to provide descriptions for videos. The summary of videos could help users better understand the subject and save time.
Screen readers can be optimized for audio files too. It helps translate the audio content on the website to text, which guides the user about the content on the website.
Try the following to improve physical accessibility for users.
Not only does keyboard navigation save time, but it also ensures that people with movement disabilities can navigate between different web pages. Websites with keyboard navigation are more user-friendly and attract more traffic.
Don’t make it a challenge for users to precisely place their cursors for clicking an item. All clickable elements must be large enough to make it easier for users to access them.
No one likes flashy and constantly changing content on websites. It’s disturbing and can be dangerous for photosensitive users. Instead, use subtle and soothing content to make it easier for users to read and access the message behind your content.
Here are a few recommended practices for web accessibility.
The Web Content Accessibility Guidelines provide a comprehensive outline for web developers to help them design accessible websites. It’s a must-have for modern websites to include people with disabilities in the web experience.
Accessibility tests allow you to determine whether your practices are working. It’s an ideal option to ensure a better online experience for disabled users. You can set up regular testing with dedicated testers that should include disabled individuals to get better feedback on the problem.
Adding a specialized feedback and support mechanism for disabled users is a good way to help them with their online experience. You can set up dedicated teams to handle accessibility issues for users.
Accessibility is critical to a successful user experience on any website. By understanding the disabilities and accessibility measures, web developers can create more engaging websites for all individuals and boost their online traffic and conversion rates.