There’s no doubt that digital products have revolutionized the world. In our lifetime we’ve come to see access to the internet declared a human right.
We are always just a few clicks away from seemingly endless information. We can do everything from paying our taxes and ordering groceries, to interacting with our governments and completing a degree online. Despite this, not all digital experiences are accessible.
An accessible website is one that is designed and coded, people with disabilities can use them. It is important that designers think about accessibility when working to create intuitive user interfaces and experiences.
The Interaction Design Foundation explains that there are five key usability areas to consider: visual, motor/ability, auditory, seizures, and learning. There are people of all backgrounds using your site or app who hope to find what they want as quickly and easily as anyone else would.
Here are some things to make your website more accessible.
Allow users to resize pages & content
Users are viewing your product from various screens on many different devices. We enjoy crafting experiences in which users can resize content to adjust to their needs. Imagine this scenario: A user inputs information into a field, and the page automatically zooms into the field. In this position, the user should have the ability to zoom out or in to assure the action they’re taking. Making this easily doable creates a seamless experience.
Make the search bar easy to locate & use
A common goal of user experience is to minimize the effort necessary for the user to complete a task, such as limiting the amount of clicks required to enter information into a search bar. For example, on the Tidal streaming platform, one click on the search symbol not only leads you to the search page, but it also opens up the keyboard so you can type in your query.
Add alt text to every image
The benefits of alt tags extend beyond SEO. Alt text makes it easy for people with visual impairments to understand your images. This is especially important for images that aren’t purely decorative.
Use section headings
Just like a book, or a street sign, digital products are expected to deliver information in a way that organizes, guides and moves the user to the next step.
Use color contrast
Perhaps an overlooked item, using the right color contrast to ensure maximum readability is key to making your UI more accessible. There are times where you’ll find that your text doesn’t have enough contrast with the background or your type size doesn’t compliment its contrast. When looking to make colors more accessible, use the following resources to know you’re doing it right. We love resources including Kevin Gutowski’s site, Web Aim, and Contrast app.
Use link text on the menu navigation
This way considers users who have difficulty finding menu items: knowing what tab they are hovering over and understanding where they are on the site. A possible solution is when a user hovers over the menu item on a page, the screen reader reads aloud that particular button by reading the link text.