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An introduction to accessibility

Accessibility is one of the most significant values underlying the entire task that people carry out. It is possible that you might have some experience with the concept of accessibility. However, there are some people who will possibly be new to the concepts or methods. These methods help to enhance the level of accessibility of products and services available.

In this blog, we will discuss the importance of accessibility and also the seven aspects that a designer must know.

Accessibility is the law

Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act is enacted by the United States Access Board. According to law, agencies must provide people with disabilities public access to information, comparable to the access available to others.

The idea is to make sure all products and service meet the minimum Level A and Level AA success criteria.

WCAG 2. O outlines the guidelines, principles, success criteria, and techniques required to optimize digital content. The four principles that need to be followed in order to make the content comply with the standards are:

  • Perceivable – It indicates user interface components to be presentable to all individuals in a way they can perceive.
  • Operable: Navigation and user interface components need to be operable, the interface doesn’t need interaction that a user cannot perform.
  • Understandable: The operation of the user interface needs to be understandable, the operation cannot be beyond their level of understanding.
  • Robust: Content is enough robust enough to be interpreted by the huge number of user agents, incorporating assistive technologies. This means when the user agents and technology evolve the content will remain accessible to all.

Sometimes the technical description of the WCAG requirements can make it complicated for the user to understand. However fortunately we incorporate the resource that helps to navigate the basics.

Significance of accessibility

Accessibility ensures the user accessing the site or web page gets the information they are looking for. This is particularly for those who use assistive technologies to view or read the content.

Becoming literate in digital accessibility

Inclusive design helps to make products, environments, and services without the need for specialized design or special adaptation. In order to become an advocate for making inclusive design, there is a need to reframe the ideas around disability.

Designers need to think that being inclusive starts with perception. Think about temporary, permanent, or situational disabilities that might prevent you from interacting with the products and services available. Additionally, take time to observe how individuals in various situations can be excluded from taking part in something.

For example, a blind person cannot access the information in a PDF if the document is not accessible. People with disabilities cannot participate in a conference call or video training without requiring captioning services or an interpreter.

There is a greater need to emphasize digital accessibility to promote inclusivity.

7 things every designer needs to know about accessibility

Accessibility facilitates the individual having disabilities to perceive, navigate, understand, interact, and contribute to the web. We will discuss a few things a developer must take into consideration, to reach the level of accessibility.

Every designer must design products to comply with Section 508 and the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 2.0.

1. Accessibility is not a barrier to innovation

Accessibility doesn’t force you to create a product that is uninteresting, cluttered, or repulsive. It introduces a set of constraints to incorporate while considering your design.

These design idea constraints will give developers new ideas. They can then explore better products accessible to all, particularly for individual having disabilities.

When the user reads through this guideline, make sure that they want to design for the design peers.

Each media used in the website must incorporate an alternative text for GIFs, photos, audio files, etc.

This will assist individuals with disabilities to comprehend the purpose behind incorporating that media into specific content. However, if you are using an image purely just for the decorative scenario, you can skip the step.

2. Make form field boundaries obvious

Users do not know when to click to initiate a search or provide data on a form. Some forms incorporate obvious text boxes, most just represent the blank space that blends with the background.

Moreover, it incorporates text which makes it complex to tell where a user needs to initiate clicking. It is relatively easier to incorporate a rectangle around the input box and make it more accessible.

Forms needs to incorporate the labels despite the label text as it makes it more obvious what is expected. The user can make it easier by simply putting the high-contrast label on the form field.

3. Don’t make users hover for information

For users with disabilities, hovering over a particular point on the screen to access information can be a daunting task.

Drop-down menus are good examples. To avoid such difficulties, follow the text pop-down when the menu passes over or make it open with a click. This will make it possible to move throughout the list with the use of a keyboard.

You also must make sure that if you add other options, accessibility software can’t explain what is available. Therefore keep the design simple and any extra information on the page itself.

4. Ensure sufficient contrast between text and its background

According to WCAG guidelines, the contrast ratio available between the text and background must be at least 4.5 to 1. WCAG guidelines and standards assist people with disabilities to view and read text available on their screen.

5. Not everyone can see colors

According to a survey, a large number of people are color blind or have low vision capability. These people will find it difficult to distinguish color easily.

When adding color to a project, make sure that people will not be able to detect subtle color changes. Therefore, distinct differences in tone are an appropriate idea.

It is also suggested to include the backup for the information that is offered by color only. If you use red highlight to mark an error field, include a symbol or text to indicate the errors.

6. Create higher contrast text

Have you ever attempted to read text that is too small and light on the screen? If yes, then you know it is difficult and strains your eyes. For some people, this is case with regular text when the level of contrast is not large enough.

Therefore, you must always make certain to incorporate enough contrast between the text and its background color. The minimum level of criteria that you need to follow is 4.5 to 1. You can increase the font size or can even use bold text to make the text readable .

7. The navigation option should be clear

Make sure to include a clear navigation option for the user. A simple navigation bar will enable the self-service mode for users.

Conclusion 

Every website must have informative content that is accessible to all users, specifically for people having disabilities.

Developers must keep in mind that web accessibility is not particularly a restriction in the path of innovation.

However, web accessibility is much more than offering some limits to your web design. The user can create a fantastic and appealing website that offers several possibilities for people with disabilities.

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