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Accessible Design

Accessible Web Design in 2024

Don't shut the door on disabled users.

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Website Accessibility Why should you care?

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1 in 5 people living in the UK has some form of impairment or disability. As a business website owner, you need to make sure that your website caters for these disabilities. It is a sad fact that only 1% of all websites cater for disabilities. So why should you care? Well, if changes are made to the law governing web accessibility in the UK then there are going to be a lot of lawsuits involved. The US has already seen a steady rise in website owners being penalised for not having accessible websites with huge price tags attached. So why wait? Website Accessibility is not a hard thing to get right and there are so many forms of help and support out there to get it done. At 32 Digital we cater for Website Accessibility as standard.

As a business and website owner, you need to do more than just place your products, services and content online. You also need to make sure that everyone can use your site in a way that works for them.

Although accessibility is not enforced in the UK as much as in other countries, it is still crucial to adhere to. Accessibility is essential not only to comply with standards but also to ensure that your website is accessible to a large proportion of internet users who may have disabilities.

A crucial tool for users with visual or physical impairments to navigate websites are screen readers. A screen reader verbally communicates the content on your website to the user. The absence of accessibility features on your website renders the screen reader useless, prompting users to move to another website.

So, why should you care? It's simple. Let's say that out of all internet users in the UK, disabled users account for 30%. That's 30% of people who will never be able to use your website. By not designing your website to be accessible to all users, you may lose 30% of potential revenue.

In the past, websites lacking accessibility in the US have faced successful lawsuits. While you will probably never fall into this situation, why take the risk? Why risk closing your doors?

In reality, what you are doing is putting a big sign up in your shop window saying, 'We don't support any disabilities here. Please go away.' You'd never get away with that in the real world, so why should it be any different in the virtual world?

The Benefits of Accessible Design

  • Reach a wider audience: By making your website accessible, you're opening it up to a larger pool of potential users. This has the potential to enhance participation, increase conversions, and foster brand loyalty.
  • Improve user experience: Improved usability extends to all users, irrespective of disabilities, through accessible design principles. Clear and concise language, effective contrast ratios, and logical layouts are universal benefits that enhance the experience for everyone.
  • Boost your SEO: Search engines like Google reward websites that are accessible. This indicates that prioritising accessibility in your design can enhance your search ranking and increase organic traffic.
  • Comply with legal requirements: Certain countries have legal requirements and regulations mandating the accessibility of websites. Designing for accessibility ensures that you're compliant with these laws.

Getting Started with Accessible Design

Level up your digital inclusivity, from simple tweaks to impactful shifts; these accessibility tips will transform your website into a space where everyone feels welcome.

Use clear and concise language: We strive for a seamless online experience for everyone, using plain language, bullet points, and visuals to enhance clarity. Our goal is to provide an inclusive and welcoming online environment for all users.

Use good contrast ratio: We want everyone to enjoy our website, so we make sure it's easy to see. One way we do that is by having high contrast ratios of at least 4.5:1. This enhances readability, especially for individuals with low vision or colour deficiencies.

Use a good font: We use legible sans-serif fonts across our website. This deliberate choice aims to facilitate screen readability, benefiting individuals with dyslexia or visual processing challenges. Additionally, we select fonts with a balanced letter thickness to prevent blurring at smaller sizes and reduce eye strain at larger sizes. Carefully considering font characteristics ensures optimal readability on various screen sizes.

Text size: Our base font size is 16px, which is considered large enough for most users with good vision.

Use alt text for images: Imagine a visually stunning photograph gracing your website, only to become a void for those unable to see it. This is where alt text becomes crucial, bridging visual content and users with diverse web experiences. Alt text serves as a concise description of an image, capturing its essence and significance. Precision is key; avoid generic descriptions like "A picture of a cat." Instead, delve into details such as breed, pose, and surroundings. Keep it concise, aiming for 125 characters or less to prevent screen readers from becoming verbose. Provide informative insights, emphasising the image's purpose over mere aesthetics, and reserve alt text omission for purely decorative elements.

Ensure your website is navigable: For those with visual impairments or motor disabilities, using a mouse may be impractical. Making the keyboard their primary tool for navigating the internet is an achievable enhancement for your website to become more keyboard-friendly.

Content structure: We believe in straightforward navigation, ensuring each tab flows logically. This makes sense for visual users and those using screen readers, who might jump to specific tabs. We can provide precise controls to pause, rewind, or adjust settings for content that starts automatically.

Style of links: Links aren't just pretty pixels on a screen; they're clear pathways for everyone. We avoid generic labels like "click here" and "more, " favouring descriptive and informative text directly conveying the link's destination. This clarity is equally helpful for visual users and those relying on screen readers, who can quickly understand the link's purpose just by listening. It's all about creating a seamless journey for all explorers of our digital landscape.

Usable on all devices: In the contemporary era of multiple devices, a static website risks falling behind the times. The gold standard for user experience is now set by responsive websites, meticulously crafted to transition seamlessly across desktops, tablets, and smartphones. These websites alleviate frustration by dynamically adapting their layout and elements to suit your specific screen size, ensuring a consistently optimal viewing experience.

Design labels and Headings: Clear and prominent titles are essential for efficient website navigation. Our philosophy endorses the use of logical, structured, and detailed titles that serve as reliable guideposts throughout your digital journey.

Online forms: Navigating online forms easily is at the heart of our commitment to accessibility. Our forms are designed thoughtfully to provide a seamless experience, especially for individuals with disability concerns. Clear alerts swiftly guide you if there's an error in your input, ensuring a smooth correction process. Intuitive indicators precisely highlight which fields require filling in, eliminating any guesswork. Additionally, we maintain a balanced spacing between labels and fields, preventing unnecessary barriers and ensuring a user-friendly layout. At every step, we aim to make the form-filling experience straightforward and inclusive, prioritising clarity and ease for all users.

We aim to build a website that welcomes everyone by incorporating these principles. In this inclusive space, every user can explore, engage, and contribute, making the digital world a more vibrant and accessible place for all.

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