Web design agencies play a crucial role in creating websites that are visually appealing, user-friendly, and accessible to all.
However, many web design agencies may not be fully aware of the importance of web accessibility. They may not readily acknowledge the impact it has on the online experience of people with disabilities.
It is essential for web design agencies to understand web accessibility and implement them in their design processes.
Why is web accessibility important in web design?
Web accessibility is the practice of designing websites that can be used by people with disabilities. People with disabilities such as visual, auditory, motor, or cognitive impairments struggle to use the web.
Therefore web design agencies must consider web accessibility as a priority when designing websites. It ensures that everyone, regardless of their abilities, can access and use the website with ease. By doing so, web design agencies can create a more inclusive and equitable online environment for all.
To achieve web accessibility, web design agencies must follow the guidelines outlined by the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG). These guidelines provide a comprehensive set of recommendations for creating accessible web content.
It includes text alternatives for non-text content, keyboard accessibility, and clear and consistent navigation. By following these guidelines, web design agencies can ensure their websites are accessible to all users, regardless of their abilities.
Web Accessibility Standards
Web Accessibility Standards refer to a set of guidelines created to ensure that websites are accessible to people with disabilities. These guidelines are organized into four categories, each addressing a different aspect of web accessibility: Perceivable, Operable, Understandable, and Robust.
The standard aims to ensure that website content can be perceived by users, regardless of their abilities. This includes providing text alternatives for non-text content, such as images, videos, etc. It also means users will be able to see and hear the content easily.
It focuses on making sure that website navigation and functionality are operable by users with disabilities. This includes providing keyboard accessibility, allowing users to navigate through the website without the use of a mouse. Users will have sufficient time to interact with website content.
This aims to ensure that website content and navigation are easily understandable by users. Provide clear and concise language, easy navigation, and interactive feedback to users.
The Robust standard aims to ensure that websites are built using technology that is accessible to users with disabilities. This means website content can be accessed by different types of assistive technologies, such as screen readers and braille displays.
By adhering to these four standards, website developers can create websites that are more inclusive and accessible to all users.
Web Design Agencies Must know these Seven Design Elements
Ensure Enough Color Contrast
Web design agencies must prioritize ensuring enough color contrast when creating websites. This ensures they are accessible to all users, including those with visual impairments. The contrast between the foreground text color and the background color must be sufficient for users to read the content.
A low color contrast can make it difficult for users to read the text, leading to frustration and exclusion. To ensure that websites are accessible to all users, web design agencies should follow WCAG guidelines for color contrast.
According to WCAG, the minimum contrast for text should be 4.5:1 for normal text and 3:1 for large text. Large text is defined as text that is 18pt or larger, or 14pt bold or larger. There are various tools to test the color contrast ratio of a website, such as the WebAIM Color Contrast Checker. By prioritizing color contrast, web design agencies can create websites that are more inclusive and accessible to all users.
Use labels for form elements and inputs
Web design agencies must ensure that online forms are accessible to all users, including those who use assistive technologies. One way to achieve this is by using labels for form elements and inputs. A label provides context for the form element or input, allowing users to understand what information is required. Users can easily complete a form with the help of form labels and descriptive inputs.
Give clear and informative feedback
Web design agencies must ensure that websites provide clear and informative feedback to users when they interact with website content. Feedback is essential for users to understand whether their actions were successful or not. This is particularly important for users with disabilities, who may require additional feedback to understand the outcome of their interactions.
Avoid confusing jargon and complicated language when giving user feedback. Additionally, feedback should be provided in multiple formats, such as visual and auditory cues, to accommodate users with different abilities.
Make your design responsive
Web design agencies must ensure that websites are responsive, meaning that they can adjust to different screen sizes and devices. A responsive design ensures all users can access content on different devices, including mobile phones and tablets. It also improves usability, making it easier to navigate your website.
Provide controls for auto-playing content
Web design agencies must ensure that websites provide controls for auto-playing content, such as videos or audio files. Auto-play can be overwhelming for users, especially those with certain disabilities such as attention deficit disorder (ADD) or auditory hypersensitivity.
Use Alt text for images
Web design agencies must ensure that they provide alternate descriptions for images. Alternative text is a description of an image read aloud by screen readers to users who cannot see the image.
Alt text should be descriptive and convey the same information as the visual content. This is also an important step towards complying with the WCAG guidelines for web accessibility.
Conduct an accessibility audit
Web design agencies can conduct an accessibility audit to identify potential accessibility barriers on their websites. An audit involves reviewing the website’s code, content, and design to ensure compliance with accessibility guidelines such as WCAG 2.1. This process may involve a combination of automated testing tools and manual testing by accessibility experts.
The goal is to identify any accessibility issues that may prevent users with disabilities from accessing and using the website. Audits help to identify areas that need improvement and steps to ensure that the website is accessible.
Design for Web Accessibility
As a web design agency, designing for web accessibility is a crucial part of our design process. We ensure that all website elements are accessible, such as adding alt text for images and captions for videos. We also consider color contrast and ensure that the website is keyboard-friendly. Our goal is to create websites that are usable and accessible to all users, regardless of their abilities. By designing for web accessibility, we can create websites that are inclusive and user-friendly for everyone.
Web design agencies have a critical role to play in creating accessible websites for all users. The four web accessibility standards ensure your site is easy to use and navigate.
It is essential to ensure that websites are keyboard-friendly, have enough color contrast, and provide clear and informative feedback. Additionally, including text alternatives for images and media and ensuring that the design is responsive is crucial.