The 10th annual Global Accessibility Awareness Day (GAAD) is a great reason to refocus our attention on the importance of digital accessibility and inclusion. In a world designed for the larger majority of users, those with disabilities are often overlooked. According to the World Health Organization, it means over one billion people (which is about 15% of the world’s population) face daily challenges when using digital devices.
At Taoti, we believe everyone is entitled to a simplified and meaningful user experience, so we put accessible design on a pedestal. Plus, we’ve come to find accessible experiences are typically just better experiences for everyone.
Here are 10 ways to make your website or app more accessible and inclusive:
1. Enable keyboard navigation.
Not only are some users limited to keyboard navigation due to mobility or dexterity issues, but some (power) users actually prefer using keyboard shortcuts.
2. Maintain color contrast ratios.
The Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) require a contrast ratio of at least 4.5:1 for normal text. Check out their tool to check your own color contrast ratios. If you’re a designer using Figma, Sketch, or XD, we recommend the Stark plugin.
3. Enlarge font sizes to assist visually impaired users.
Who knows, this might even help the user whose eyes are strained after a long day of work.
4. Always provide (descriptive) alternate text on images.
This allows assistive technology, like screen readers, to do their job. Plus, alt text is proven to improve your Search Engine Optimization (SEO).
5. Pair important icons with label text.
This ensures screen reader devices can dictate the icon while reducing icon ambiguity for everyone else.
6. Don’t rely exclusively on color.
Did you know color-blindness affects close to 10% of the population? Combating this can be as simple as pairing red error messages with error icons.
7. Include subtitles and sign language elements on audio and video components.
Ever been in a public place and wanted to watch YouTube but didn’t have your headphones? This accessibility feature is guaranteed to be welcomed by all.
8. Allow users to pause animations and videos.
Not only can these motions and sounds be distracting to users, but those with vestibular impairments might get dizzy or experience migraines. The simple solution? Let the user press pause.
9. Make sure touch targets are large enough and reachable on mobile devices.
This doesn’t mean all the icons need to be huge, just that the touch area itself should be big enough for users to target comfortably with one finger while holding the device in hand.
10. Consult with a digital accessibility expert.
Auditing sites and running usability tests are essential to validating accessible design features. Taoti is here to make your digital experiences inclusive and engaging, so let us know how we can help. Accessibility is a constantly evolving field in the tech space.
On Global Accessibility Awareness Day, we should not only celebrate existing digital accessibility efforts but continue to drive conversations on the topic and inspire further action among designers, developers, and tech leaders. Together we can make the internet a more accessible and inclusive place.
Want to learn more? Uncover the history of web accessibility and discover some helpful resources in this blog post from our very own accessibility director, Scott Spector.