Accessible Design for Users With Disabilities

Accessible Design for Users With Disabilities

By Scarlett Payne   |    December 23, 2020


The Need for Accessibility

Technology exists to make our lives better and more efficient. Accessibility should be considered for all users, including those with disabilities. More than 15% of the world’s population is disabled, but the average website is three times less usable for people with a disability.

Benefits of Accessible Design:

• A larger user base • Better looking design • Better functioning design • Less time spent debugging code • Faster load speeds • Higher SEO rankings • A good reputation • Great UX • ADA compliance

What is  ADA Compliance?

Access to information and technology is a human right, so The Department of Justice created the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA). The act requires certain organizations to meet standards for accessible design so people with disabilities have equal access and ease of use.

4 Principles of Compliance

1. Perceivable: All content can be seen or adjusted. 2. Operable: All UI elements are can be easily navigated. 3. Understandable: Information and UI is easy to understand. 4. Robust: Users or assistive technology can interpret content. 

Design for  the Visually Impaired

• Write descriptive and   purposeful alt text for screen   readers • Label header tags on web   pages • Describe links in the text • Format elements like forms   for screen readers • Ensure all browsers can read   your code • Make font sizes adjustable • Use contrasting colors in the   right combinations

Design for the Deaf and HOH

Multimedia elements, from gifs to videos, continue to take over content. Adding subtitles and transcriptions for all audio will make your content accessible to the deaf, hard of hearing, and speakers of other languages.

Design for Cognitive Disabilities

Cognitive disabilities include ADHD, dyslexia, learning disabilities, epilepsy, and more. • Use simple language • Keep navigation consistent • Use clear content hierarchies • Allow changes to timed tasks • Optimize search engines for   spelling errors • Limit flashing to less than 3   flashes per second • Avoid red flashing content   entirely

Design for  Motor Disabilities 

Motor disabilities include limited mobility and tremors that users were born with or left with after an accident or stroke. These users often use assistive technology like alternative keyboards and voice command software. Make your designs and content compatible with keyboard navigation and command technology.

Other Forms of Accessibility

Situational limitations exist, including sleep deprivation, being in a brightly lit environment, having limited bandwidth, or even being in a public space. By accounting for all usability barriers, a web designer gets closer to universal design, where all users can use a product in all contexts.

Research. Design. Audit. Repeat.

Accessibility should be involved from the beginning of the design process, but it’s never too late to start. Post design, regularly conduct accessibility audits on your developed products. Assess the accessibility of your audio, color, animation, imagery, structure, controls, font, and time elements.

Make Accessible Design a Priority

We use technology daily to make our lives easier, and everyone deserves equal access to these tools. When you commit to developing accessible websites and apps, you contribute to equality while boosting your KPIs.