Inaccessible web designs prevent millions of people in the disabled community from obtaining an easy online experience each and every day. For those with disabilities such as visual and hearing impairments, challenges present themselves on web pages more often than not. However, building a disability friendly site is actually easier than you may think.
The first step is awareness - educating yourself and your company on how to implement the necessary changes for a more inclusive web design is essential. One-fifth of the estimated global total, or between 110 million and 190 million people, experience significant disabilities. It is also said that the current younger generations are more a risk for future hearing impairments due to things such has excessive use of screens and earphones, this population itself is still however a huge portion of people that are online or consistently visiting webpages.
Feeling overwhelmed? Don’t worry, we’ve compiled a list of the top elements to include to make your website accommodating to all visitors.
Visual impairments can range from concerns like blindness and low vision, to colorblindness and cataracts. Some solutions for these disabilities include text enlargement tools for users to zoom in on content.
Many websites also have the ability to incorporate a voice over button. This tool allows for people with visual impairments (and even hard of hearing) to activate a voiceover that can read and describe whatever it is the user is hovering on.
For colorblindness; it is best to include high contrast text and elements on your website; there are also many free online sources for companies to review the readability of their color schemes.
For those with hearing impairments, be sure to incorporate a way for the user to be able to control the volume or be made aware that there is sound on the page. Placing a speaker icon on the website’s navigation section is a simple and efficient way to accommodate these issues.
Providing subtitles on your videos is a good feature to incorporate to your website as well, not just for those with hearing impairments - but also for those who might be in a public setting and unable to turn on sound!
Lastly, including multiple ways to contact someone on your website is a good idea for not only disabled clients but to uphold the best customer service. Incorporating live chat options,, email inquiries and even a detailed FAQ section can help accommodate all customers on a broader spectrum.
For accommodating users with autism, design elements are a huge factor. Seeing as though they usually have a heightened level of sensory awareness, be sure to avoid web pages that are overly cluttered. A simple, uniformed design across all your webpages makes a big difference in over stimulation as well as not appearing disorganized or confusion to visitors as a whole.
If a specific webpage is asking for a call to action or instruction to perform an action, directions should be as clear as possible and accompanied by explanations whenever necessary.
Text and written content should also be as straightforward as possible for clients with both autism and learning disabilities. The typography itself should have be either be a basic font or one specified for learning disabilities.
Clients and site visitors with a physical disability usually need to have some sort of option for gesture accommodations such as larger buttons, CTA’s and search bars. Since limited mobility is a usual concern with this user group, the overall goal is to include larger targets for the most important buttons and links on your site.
Prioritizing the most important information and content at the top of the page is also important to avoid those with a physical disability from having to scroll more than necessary.
Creating alternatives to certain elements on your webpages such as drop down options and menus can help curve the need for this particular group of users to scroll endlessly. A great alternate option for this is a calendar option or allowing for users to type in their own choice (I.e. birthdates or other contact information).
As you can see, creating an inclusive website for all disabilities and impairments just requires knowledge of what to incorporate. An accessible website or app can also substantially boost your brand’s reputation because it will appeal to wider audiences, which will end up driving more traffic.
Not sure where to start? At the Narrow Land, our web developers are here to help you make your website accessible to your entire intended audience, including those with disabilities. Whether you need to simplify your homepage or alter your sites color scheme, our design team can help. Give us a call today to get started or to ask any questions you may have.
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