Everyone in the world has become dependent on the internet for various aspects of everyday life. We use websites and apps for our jobs, banking, communication, social connections, and pretty much everything else. The internet is an everlasting source of resources that have become essential to our existence. But have you ever paused to think about how it affects those who are living with disabilities? How do the blind use eCommerce apps to buy their essentials? Or how people with cognitive disabilities use social media?

When you own a business, you must reflect on how your audience uses the resources to buy your products or services. You may have purchased a compliance software from one of the leading accessibility service providers like accessiBe, Userway or LevelAccess. But you must understand how it helps the users.

Even though these AI-powered web accessibility solutions can do most of the heavy lifting, it still needs human intervention and support. You must also understand how the AI-powered web accessibility solution affects the design of your website or apps.

Why Is Accessibility in Web Design Essential?

You may not be aware of it, but one in every five of your American customers lives with a disability of some form. Not every type of disability affects a person’s ability to use the internet. But conditions such as blindness, autism, cognitive disabilities, hearing impairments, and attention deficit disorders, and many others can limit a person’s ability to use digital devices. If your digital presence is not optimized for web accessibility, you could be losing out on a large chunk of business. According to recent surveys, people with disabilities purchase products and services worth more than $175 billion each year. Promoting accessibility through your website design and contents will not only get you their loyalty but also of their families, friends, relatives, and sympathizers. 

In many countries, web accessibility is merely a suggestion. But in many others like America, Australia, European countries, and Brazil, some laws make website accessibility mandatory. In America, the legal obligation to maintain the accessibility of a website falls under Title III of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). The World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) has provided a set of guidelines called the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) that affect the digital accessibility of websites. Failure to make your website and its contents ADA compliant can result in lawsuits against your organization.

These are some ways in which your designing team can ensure that the website has an optimized accessibility interface. You can also get testing tools from reputed compliance service providers like aCe or WAVE to audit your website for violations periodically.

Alt Texts for Images

The visually impaired use assistive technologies such as screen readers to use your website. Since they cannot see images, logos, visual information, or icons, they rely on the alt texts provided in the HTML codes of your website. Your designers should ensure that all images that are relevant to the user’s ability to access your website should contain appropriate alt texts. Alt texts should ideally be descriptive enough to convey the relevant information. But they should also not be too long to overwhelm and confuse the users.

Predictable Navigation

The placement and design of icons are essential elements of your website’s navigation. So make sure that the designers use them in a predictable manner that is consistent with all the pages of your website. The icons must also be distinct from each other so that they do but create confusion. Automation navigations and videos can also be distracting for visitors, so refrain from using them.

Big, Bold and Organized Texts

The texts on your website must be sized and organized appropriately to make it accessible to those who are visually impaired. There are many specific guidelines for the minimum font sizes of different fonts. Some fonts are easier to read than others, so make sure that your designing team uses one of them.

High contrast palettes should be avoided as they can create confusion for many people with visual disabilities. Organized text not only improves the visual appeal of your website, but it also makes it less confusing for those who use screen readers.

Usable by All

Some people with disabilities rely on keyboards only because they cannot handle a mouse. Whereas, some people cannot use keyboards but rely on other assistive technologies to use websites. Make sure your designing teams consider every user.

The purpose of optimizing the design of your website accessibility is to remove the barriers for users with disabilities. Your designers must prioritize usability while developing the website. Following the usability guidelines provided by WCAG will ensure that your website is accessible and ADA compliant.

About the Author

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Mirko Humbert

Mirko Humbert is the editor-in-chief and main author of Designer Daily and Typography Daily. He is also a graphic designer and the founder of WP Expert.