Web Accessibility and Design: The Role of Inclusive Design in Creating Accessible Websites
Web accessibility and design is an approach to web design that aims to provide equal access to the web for everyone, including people with visual, auditory, or cognitive disabilities. According to the World Health Organization, around 1.3 billion people, or 16% of the world’s population, experience significant disability.
The World Wide Web Consortium is an international standards organisation for the world wide web. It has developed standards and guidelines to help everyone build a web based on the principles of accessibility, internationalisation, privacy, and security. Although web accessibility is a growing concern, many websites unfortunately still don’t comply with web accessibility best practices and don’t appreciate the importance of embracing inclusive web design principles. This makes it difficult for many people to engage with their content and their products and services.
This article will explore the issue of accessibility in web design in more detail. Why does accessibility matter? Why is it important that businesses and organisations ensure their website is inclusive and adheres to accessibility guidelines? I will outline the key standards and guidelines for ensuring web accessibility and will discuss the significance of web accessibility for designers and developers. What can web designers do to ensure their web designs are more inclusive and accessible?
Accessible Web Design: Essential for Successful Websites
The goal of accessible web design is to create websites that can be easily used and accessed by people of all abilities. Inclusive design practices and web accessibility make websites more inclusive, enable organisations to enhance user experience on their site and to demonstrate their commitment to inclusivity. Tim Berners-Lee, the inventor of the world wide web, has said “the power of the web is in its universality. Access by everyone regardless of disability is an essential aspect.”
Accessibility is an essential element of successful web design and should be a key focus for web designers and developers who want to create high-quality websites that do not exclude people. Embracing accessibility enables businesses and organisations to engage with and connect with a wider range of people and provide a better, more user-friendly experience for visitors to their sites. As the web evolves and digital channels become more dominant, demand to adopt accessibility is growing and businesses and organisations are appreciating that accessible design means better design.
A recent Deloitte article discusses how inclusive design creates more user-friendly interactions and improves user experiences for all users. Embracing web accessibility, designing for inclusion with a focus on inclusive design practices creates better designs and drives innovation that benefit all users. The World Wide Web Consortium have developed Web Content Accessibility Guidelines to assist web designers and developers. The WCAG guidelines divide into four subcategories – perceivable, operable, understandable, and robust. Perceivable guidelines describe how web information must be presentable to users in ways they can perceive, operable guidelines describe how user interface components and navigation must be usable, understandable guidelines outline how information and user interface operations must be understandable, and robust guidelines describe how content must be robust enough to be interpreted by a wide variety of user agents, including assistive technologies. These guidelines form part of the World Wide Web Consortium’s web standards the building blocks of a consistent, inclusive, and digitally connected world.
At Grinning Graphics, our web designers are passionate about accessibility. We see accessibility and inclusive design as an essential element of an effective and successful website design. Our website designs integrate WCAG accessibility guidelines as standard and incorporate inclusive design practices to benefit all web users. Our websites are designed to be user-friendly for all people, to be accessible to people with a range of hearing, sight, and cognitive abilities. What design principles can you follow as a web designer to ensure your websites are inclusive? What can you do to make your website more accessible for a diverse range of users?
Web Design and Accessibility; How to Make Your Website More Accessible
The goal of inclusive web design practices is to assist all people in engaging with web content, ensuring there are no barriers to accessing and interacting on the web for people with disabilities. What can you do to ensure your website adheres to accessibility guidelines? Below we will outline some practical advice on how you can make your web content more accessible by making your website and content more perceivable, more operable, more understandable, and more robust. This advice is aligned with the latest Web Contact Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.2.
Ensure your web content is presented to the user in such a way that it can be seen and heard clearly and easily.
- Provide text alternatives to non-text content.
- Offer alternative ways to consume time-based media.
- Use image alt texts and add full transcripts of audio recordings.
- Structure Content so that it is easy to see and hear.
Ensure your web content is designed and structured so that users can easily interact with and navigate around your website and your web content.
- Ensure all functionality is available via keyboard.
- Ensure users have enough time to read and use content.
- Avoid flashing content.
- Provide clear and easy to use website navigation.
Ensure your web content and user interfaces are user-friendly, clear, and straightforward, and easy to understand.
- Make text content readable.
- Employ large size fonts and high contrast.
- Structure site and pages logically so it’s predictable and users can understand how to navigate.
- Include clear error messages to correct and educate users.
Your website and web content should be compatible with current technologies.
- Ensure HTML can be parsed, read, and translated.
- Ensure web content is compatible with assistive technologies.
Another way to promote accessibility is to ensure your web design is responsive and accessible across a range of different web devices. For more information on how you can implement web accessibility, the Web Accessibility Initiative offers support materials to help people understand and implement accessibility. You can also use accessibility checker tools to help evaluate the accessibility of your website and content.
Conclusion; The Importance of Inclusive and Accessible Web Design
Embracing inclusive web design and adhering to principles and guidelines for accessibility not only helps make the web more accessible, it helps create better websites for everyone. More and more businesses and organisations are appreciating the importance of web accessibility. By investing in accessible and inclusive website design that prioritises usability, organisations can connect with a wider audience while also demonstrating a commitment to inclusivity.
At Grinning Graphics, we understand the importance of accessibility. To ensure maximum accessibility, we incorporate the recommendations outlined in the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) on all our website designs.
Are you looking to work with web designers to create a website that prioritises accessibility? Are you interested in updating or redesigning your existing website to ensure greater accessibility for your users?
At Grinning Graphics, our web designers are passionate about making websites accessible for everyone.