The world is diverse, with all types of people. A few might be lucky to have all the abilities to function daily and access technology/ digital products. But there is a considerable chunk of people have some disabilities that hinder their access to an easy digital life. 15% of the world’s population has a disability (WHO). The Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) is the international accessibility standard established by the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C), referring to UX Design for Users with Disabilities.
What is UX/UI Design?
UX encompasses all a person’s experiences with a product or service online or offline, whereas UI is specific to how people interact with a product or service. UX and UI Design have become important in the present digital age for websites/apps. The Users depend on the website/app to trust, like, return to it for purchases or use.
What is Digital Accessibility?
Digital accessibility is the process of making digital products, such as websites, mobile apps, and other online tools, accessible to everyone. It is about ensuring all users can access the same information.
It is about easy navigation and understanding by many users, including visual, auditory, motor, or cognitive disabilities. But it is not limited to these; accessibility can be influenced by a person’s culture, society, economics, gender, etcetera.
Why is Digital Accessibility important, and what should Designers do?
We live in a world with many differences; some are poor-rich, educated-uneducated, western-Asian, etcetera. The differences can empower some while can be unfair to others. Digital barriers impact many lives as it creates a digital divide among people. A lack of access to information is not beneficial when everything is digital and global.
To reduce this inequality, the UX/UI Designers should follow the WCAG standards by W3G. They should conduct an Accessibility Audit for their clients and inform them about it to make them aware of these considerations.
How to make Websites/Apps accessible?
The Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) breaks down accessibility into four main principles:
Elements that convey information or website user interface components must be presented so that users can find, process, and understand.
All functionality and navigation on the website should be usable.
Information and the operation of the user interface must be clear and understandable to users of all abilities.
The website should be capable of adapting and developing itself to support a variety of current and potential future user agents, including assistive technologies.
Under each principle are testable success criteria that recommend making digital content more accessible. Three levels classify the success criteria — A, AA, and AAA — with A being the most basic level of WCAG compliance and AAA being the strictest.
Karwai Pun highlights the dos and don’ts of designing for accessibility.
1. Designing for Users on the Autistic Spectrum:
- Use simple colors, don’t use bright contrasting colors.
- Write in plain English and avoid using figures of speech and Idioms.
- Don’t make button descriptions vague and unpredictable; use standard reports on the buttons.
- Don’t build complex, cluttered layouts. Keep them simple and consistent.
2. Designing for Users with Hearing Issues:
- Use subtitles or provide transcripts for videos. Avoid using content in audio or video format.
- Don’t make phone calls the only means to contact. Make other options available to the User.
3. Designing for Users with Dyslexia:
- Don’t use large blocks of heavy text; use images and diagrams to support the text.
- Align text to the left and use a consistent layout. Do not underline words, use italics or write in capitals.
- Make content/material available in audio/video format.
- Allow contrast-change options/settings.
4. Designing for Users with Low Vision:
- Use good color contrast and readable font size.
- Follow a linear layout, don’t put content all over the place.
5. Designing for Users with physical or motor Disabilities:
- Provide significant clickable actions, do not use interactions, and space between the form fields.
- Provide shortcuts, do not frustrate the users with lots of typing and scrolling.
- Design with mobile and touchscreen in mind
6. Designing for Users of Screen Readers.
- Describe images and provide transcripts for videos.
- Write descriptive links and headings.
- Build for keyboard use only and not for mouse/screen use.
The guidelines mentioned above are not enough for UX Design for Users with Disabilities, and you can refer to the reference given below. Inclusivity is essential to make products that don’t discriminate, and designers should take the responsibility of making accessibility a priority.
To learn how to build more accessible products with great experiences, reach out to us and we will be happy to help.