Many companies are still not aware of the benefits of integrating accessibility into the design and UX research process. Therefore, they’re missing the immense real-world impacts of it. Prioritizing accessibility can ensure that users of all abilities enjoy our digital products. Therefore, it’s essential to understand the importance of prioritizing accessibility in UX design.Moreover, hundreds of millions of people use websites to conduct research, consume videos, and shop online. But unfortunately, it’s not easy for people with disabilities to use websites, because only a few websites that the disabled community can access. The good news is accessibility landscape is changing quickly because internet users are increasing, and now companies are held accountable in accessibility lawsuits.
That’s why it has become a priority to make website design accessible. So, here, we’ll discuss why companies should prioritize accessibility in UX design?
Why should companies prioritize accessibility in UX design?
Without any further ado, let’s dive into the reasons.
Current state of accessibility in UX design
As mentioned earlier, the goal of prioritizing accessibility is to help people with auditory, cognitive, visual and other disabilities to access websites. It can also be viewed as a sub-discipline of UX. Companies have to comply with the American Disability Act and Web Content Accessibility guidelines. Therefore they face mounting pressure.
Technical architects, UX designers, quality analysts and product development teams must be in collaboration to ensure accessibility is at the forefront of the web design process. Don’t take it easy because designing for accessibility is a full-time job. You should consider different accessibility features for starters, such as closed transcripts and captions for video content.
Moreover, it’s the responsibility of everyone to complete a checklist of accessibility requirements. Keep accessibility compliance law in mind so that you can make potential changes.
Prioritizing accessibility in UX design eliminates retrofitting
Do you know you need financial investment for website accessibility compliance? But when you integrate accessibility designs into an early stage of website development, it makes changes easier and less costly. The phased-in approach is crucial because it can help you save costs and time.
When you design a website by keeping accessibility in mind, you’ll have to do less coding than retrofitting it. You’ll have to make changes to specific pages instead of fixing hundreds of pages.
So, one thing is clear it’s essential to prioritize accessibility, but you should consider the level of accessibility that you want to provide initially. The best practice is to evaluate your website media and find out which features can help users with disabilities to navigate your website by using assisting technologies. You can evaluate features like clear labels for form elements, alt tags for images, and video text translations.
Prioritizing accessibility in UX design minimizes risks of lawsuits
As mentioned earlier, companies are facing pressure to comply with ADA standards. Moreover, these accessibility standards are strictly enforced. If you don’t follow them, you’ll face lawsuits. From 2017 to 2018, do you know that the website accessibility lawsuits nearly tripled? These strict rules have affected some well-known brands like Winn-Dixie and Blick Art Materials.
Recently, the Supreme Court allowed an accessibility lawsuit against Domino’s Pizza at the request of a blind man. A man claimed they violated ADA rules because he could not use a screen reader to order pizza online. Since that case, many pizza brands have made their online services accessible.
Therefore, the companies should learn from these cases, and they need to take accessibility seriously to minimize the risks of lawsuits.
Reach a broader audience
Prioritizing accessibility can help websites reach a broader audience. For example, there can be various disability scenarios, such as an old man who can’t read tiny text on a mobile screen, or it can be a hearing-impaired person who can’t understand video content without captions. Finally, it can be a worker who can’t use a mouse because of an injury.
When we calculate this number of disabilities, it can be a massive one, and it can cost companies both in terms of reputation and revenue. You need to do future forecasts so that you can build websites that can assist them in the future.
So, the goal of prioritizing accessibility is to not only pay attention to the current audience’s needs but you should also think about what they’ll require in future. So, when you stay ahead with the UX design process and prioritize accessibility, it will ensure that everyone gets fair and equal access to your website. Ultimately, you can target a broader audience and improve your reputation and revenue.
8 Accessibility in UX design best practices
Now, you understand the importance and benefits of prioritizing accessibility in the UX design process. The next question is, what are the best practices that can improve the UX design process? Remember, sometimes accessibility best practices are common best practices overall, but for disabled persons, they can be ideal to follow.
UI should be rock solid
The first thing for website accessibility is a rock-solid user interface. Consistent navigation and clear and concise designs benefit everyone. Moreover, cluttered screens and inconsistent navigation can become a serious issue for visually impaired people.
Keyboard navigation is always a welcome addition
Some users prefer keyboard navigation. Therefore, it can be an excellent addition when you enable hotkey shortcuts. When you keep disabled persons in mind, keyboard navigation becomes essential. You can check recognized keyboard standards before including them in the UX design process for website accessibility.
Prioritize text clarity
For visually impaired users, text clarity is the biggest obstacle. That’s why designers should take measures to increase the clarity of letters and the readability of blocks. You can apply the following four techniques that visually impaired people will appreciate.
- According to W3C, the minimum contrast ratio between text and background is 4:5:1, but when you use large fonts, this ratio can drop to 3:1, which is also acceptable.
- The text size of the body should be a min of 16 pixels.
- Line spacing should be at least 25% of the font size. Keeping the above-mentioned pixel size in mind, spacing should be at least 4 pixels or even more than that.
- For font resizing in style sheets, you can use other measures such as pt, em, or relative sizes instead of pixels.
These techniques can improve readability that will help users, especially visually impaired people.
Don’t rely solely on color
Color blindness affects only 10% of the total users. No doubt, colors can be a great tool for communication but relying solely on colors isn’t a good idea. Therefore, you need to use labels to explain crucial functions.
Sometimes, there can be an issue with the input field, so a red color can be used to indicate an error. Moreover, use an exclamation point icon for full accessibility. Some people are not good at designing for visually impaired people; if you’re also one of them, use a black and white filter to look at your interface.
Alter content for screen readers
HTML and CSS are separated now, so developers can use CSS to make changes in design without changing the code. It improves the design and usability for screen readers. Sighted readers can scan through pages to choose their preferred section, but there must be an option for visually impaired people.
The navigation menu should be at the bottom for screen readers, while you can keep it at the top for sighted users.
Add short descriptions of link text
It’s the best option for screen readers because they prefer to list links on a page. If the link only contains text like click here, the reader will not understand where this link will take them. Therefore, the best practice is to add a short link description. Don’t go overboard and only include necessary information and text.
40 x 40 pt is the best area for touch control
When we talk about website accessibility, we don’t only talk about a technically disabled person, but we talk about everyone. The clickable area for touch control shouldn’t be less than 40 x 40pt. This size is acceptable for all assistance tools and finger sizes.
Follow the complete accessibility in UX design checklist
>When you follow the accessibility checklist, you can check the accessibility of your website or app. It will help you improve the overall UX design process. This checklist can keep you on track throughout the process.
In this guide, we have tried to help you understand the importance of prioritizing accessibility in the UX design process. More importantly, we have shared some best practices to improve the UX design process so that you can minimize risk or lawsuits and increase your revenue by targeting a broader audience. So, pay attention to website accessibility next time to attract more readers.