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Accessibility icon on a dark brown mosaic background.

It’s a prevalent misconception that online accessibility only serves those who are handicapped or have sensory, cognitive or motor disabilities. In truth, making your website accessible makes it easier for everyone to use.

Accessibility features are specifically designed to assist individuals with disabilities to use technology more conveniently. Let us make it clear with an example; a text-to-speech feature may help to read out the text loud for individuals the restricted vision. A speech-recognition feature facilitates an individual with restricted mobility to control the computer system through their voice.

In this blog, we will discuss some common accessibility features that deliver great learning experiences for individuals with disabilities.

For more information on web accessibility, check out our blog on ‘What is Web Accessibility and Why is it so Important’ here:

Common Accessibility Features

Some accessibility features need special software downloads. But some are built into the operating system of the mobile device or computer system. Some of the accessibility features that come along with a mobile device or computer are discussed below.

  • Feature for an individual with low or restricted vision: Features like text-to-speech will facilitate people to hear what is available on the screen despite reading it. Some other features such as an enlarged cursor and high-contrast theme will make it simpler for people with poor vision to view the screen.
  • Feature for people having low-hearing capability: Closed captions helps to present audio information to the deaf individuals. Audio systems transmit signals into both the ears so that users with restricted hearing in one ear to will not miss what they are listening to.
  • Features for restricted–mobility users: Keyboard shortcuts are especially useful for people who are have difficulty in manipulating the mouse. The strict keys allow people with disabilities to press keys one at a time to activate the shortcut.

6 Web Accessibility Features That Benefit more People than you think

Dark mode enhances readability and reduces eye strain

Dark mode setting displays light-colored text against the dark-colored background. In an Android Authority survey, it was found that 81.9 per cent of readers proclaimed that they employ the dark mode. Some of the most popular apps like Zoom, Slack, and Netflix introduced the feature of dark mode to enhance learning experience. Benefits of using the dark mode helps to reduce eyestrain and enhance text legibility. Additionally, it is extremely helpful for individuals with vision and cognitive disabilities.

However, simply implementing the dark mode will not make a site accessible. Therefore, it is recommended to pay attention to color contrast ratio. Color Contrast Accessibility Validator is one of the significant tools available that helps to check conformance.

Color contrast

A website must incorporate proper colour contrast between the text and background. Examples include icons, links, buttons, and other information available on the web page. The best example of appropriate color contrast is light grey text on a white background.

Useful for:

  • Elderly people over the age of 50 years
  • People with temporary disabilities, like cataracts 
  • People in different lighting conditions 

Point to remember: You must understand that people with dyslexia or migraine sensitivity usually prefer low color contrast. Therefore allow users to change the color contrast between text and the background.

Closed captions

Closed captions describe all dialogue and sounds in a video. People often confuse closed captions and subtitles, but there is a slight difference.

Closed captions provide a text alternative to the audio of a video online. It includes all relevant sounds in the video.

Captions are a perfect example of an accessibility feature that helps a range of both disabled and non-disabled users.

Useful for:

  • Elderly people affected by hearing loss
  • People with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)
  • People with hearing loss

Writing in Plain English

Plain English is the best way to ensure your content reaches the largest number of people. Dense, difficult-to-read text can be confusing to those with learning difficulties. Using plain English makes your writing easier for everyone to understand.

Keyboard-only navigation

Keyboard users typically use the tab key to navigate through the elements on a web site, such as links, buttons, and forms.

Make sure your website is accessible to keyboard-only navigation as per WCAG guidelines. It affects anyone who uses assistive technology, like a screen reader, to navigate through a website.

Logical Heading Structure

Complex layouts with inconsistent heading levels makes it difficult to find information. It’s important to structure any long-form content using H1, H2, H3 heading levels. This helps to not only organize content, but also provides functionality for assistive technology users.

If your content is predictable and intuitive, it is likely a user will find the information they need.

Conclusion

These are a few examples of web accessibility that benefits a variety of users. In fact, everyone benefits from accessibility at some point in their lives.

By creating a few changes to the website layout, you can make the difference between a site that is simple to use and a complicated one.

The more we design with accessibility in mind, the better experience for everybody.

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