Top 5 Essential Do's and Don'ts for Accessible Web Design

Digital
Last updated:
March 28, 2023

As the world moves more and more towards digital interaction, web designers must consider the needs and requirements of individuals with disabilities. Accessibility in web design is a moral obligation and a legal requirement in many countries. It's not just about meeting a checklist of standards but creating an inclusive and accessible experience for all users- especially the ones with disabilities. That's where this post comes in. We'll discuss the top five essential dos and don'ts for designing accessible websites that everyone can use. From providing alternative text descriptions for images to developing color contrast, we'll explore ways to create website content that is easy to navigate and understand by a range of users, including those with visual and auditory impairments. We'll also highlight the common mistakes that web designers make when creating content and how to avoid these shortcomings. By prioritizing accessibility in web design, we can make the digital world a more inclusive and welcoming place for all. So, let's dive in!

 

 

1. Do use alt tags for images and videos to enhance accessibility.

 

Using alt tags for images and videos is essential to creating accessible web design. Alt tags, or alternative text descriptions, provide valuable information about the visual content on a webpage to users with visual disabilities, screen readers, or other assistive technology. When using alt tags, it's essential to provide clear and concise descriptions of the visual elements on the page, including descriptive links and titles for external links. In addition, designers should consider choosing accessible colors and creating high-contrast color schemes to make content easier to access for users with color blindness or other visual disabilities. By prioritizing accessibility standards and ensuring a logical layout for users, designers can create a more user-friendly experience for impaired users, keyboard users, and real users using mobile devices or other user agents. Including user descriptors and specifying the appropriate format for users can also enhance the accessibility of digital content, improving both the user experience and overall functionality of the website or application.

 

2. Don't use color alone to convey meaning; it may be difficult for color-blind users.

 

When designing a website, it's important to keep accessibility in mind for users with disabilities. One essential do's and don'ts for accessible web design is not using color alone to convey meaning, as it may be difficult for color-blind users. Background color, interactive elements, visual content, and user experience can be challenging to navigate for screen reader users, users with visual disabilities, and users with situational disabilities. Instead, use descriptive links, logical layouts, and descriptive titles so users can understand the context of each page and block of content. To ensure compatibility with different user actions, devices, and assistive technology, use accessible colors and high-contrast color schemes. Bright colors, the color spectrum, and theme colors should be used thoughtfully with user controls and a format for users to adjust color preferences. Additionally, provide alternative arrangements for non-text content such as closed captions, audio descriptions, and transcripts for video and audio tracks. By following these accessible design practices, websites can enhance their user interface components to ensure equal usability for all individuals, including those who are on the autistic spectrum or have other impairments.

 

3. Ensure your website is keyboard-friendly for users who cannot use a mouse.

 

Ensuring your website is keyboard-friendly is a crucial aspect of accessible web design, particularly for users who cannot use a mouse. People with disabilities, such as those relying on screen readers or other assistive technology, may have difficulty using interactive elements if they require a mouse to operate. Screen reader users, keyboard users, and those with impaired motor skills need keyboard focus on navigating our website effectively. As such, it is essential to ensure that your website is designed according to accessibility standards with a logical layout, accessible colors, descriptive links and titles, sufficient white space, and a visual hierarchy that helps users with visual disabilities. Additionally, blocks of content, menu items, and action buttons should be clearly labeled, and there should be a list of links and a format for users to find their way around your website quickly and easily. By keeping real users' needs in mind and testing your website across different assistive technology and screen sizes, you can make your website accessible to all users, including those with situational disabilities or on mobile devices.

 

4. Don't use flashing or blinking content that may trigger seizures in some users.

 

One of the most essential do's for accessible web design is to design your website with users with disabilities in mind. One important doesn't is to avoid using flashing or blinking content that may trigger seizures in some users. This is particularly important for people with visual disabilities, including those with photosensitivity or epilepsy. To make your website accessible to all users, consider using accessible colors and high-contrast color schemes. For example, avoid using bright colors that may be difficult to distinguish or outside the color spectrum for people with color blindness. Additionally, it's important to provide descriptive titles and links for non-text content, such as images and decorative elements, and to provide closed captions and transcripts for video and audio tracks. Taking these steps can improve the user experience for real users, including those with situational or impaired users, as well as assistive technology users such as screen readers and keyboard users, making your website widely accessible and aligning your website with accessibility standards.

 

5. Provide clear and concise instructions on using your website's features to make navigation easier for all users.

 

One of the top essential "Do's" for accessible web design is to provide clear and concise instructions on how to use the website's features. This helps make navigation easier for all users, especially those who may have disabilities or use assistive technology like screen readers. To ensure access for screen reader users, all interactive elements and visual content need descriptive links and graphic details that provide a better user experience. A list of links needs to be designed appropriately with logical grouping to make menu items and actions clear for all users. Additionally, the design must consider users with disabilities which can be permanent, like visual disabilities, or temporarily experienced electronic impairments. It is essential to design with accessibility standards, including colors accessible for users with color blindness or insufficient color discrimination, non-text content, descriptive titles for external links, white space, logical layout, closed captions for audio tracks, audio descriptions for video, and visual hierarchy. The design should include user controls that allow the format adjustment for users, user agents, and user interface components, including bright colors or high-contrast color schemes to cater to users on the autistic spectrum or with vision impairments. In conclusion, designing with accessibility makes your website user-friendly for all users.

 

In conclusion, the world is becoming more conscious of the need for accessibility in web design. The goal is to create a platform where disabled individuals can have the same access to information as everyone else. Following the essential dos and don'ts of accessible web design can make a positive and inclusive user experience. Everybody is responsible for ensuring that our website designs are accessible to all. By following these principles, we can take essential strides toward making the web a more inclusive and accessible medium for everyone.

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