Accessibility plays a crucial role in the overall user experience (UX) of your web design. If you have your own business website, you must be able to take into consideration how the end user will navigate and experience your web pages, and thus the overall impression they’ll have of your company.
Designing your UX for optimal accessibility will not only allow you to expand your reach to a much wider audience, but it will also ensure that you meet legal requirements if you are operating in the Philippines. According to the Accessible Website Design Guidelines set by the National Council on Disability, all websites must “take appropriate measures to ensure access of persons with disabilities on an equal basis with others.”
But what exactly does this mean in terms of UX design? It’s a question worth asking, given that some business owners think that designing for accessibility will somehow compromise the overall aesthetics of their website. When the goal of a website is to appeal to visitors and convert them into active customers, what design strategy should be implemented so that the website is both accessible and attractive?
Thankfully, there are several practical ways to strike a balance between attractiveness, accessibility, and functionality, especially if you’re working with a web design agency in the Philippines like SearchWorks.PH. Here’s a briefer on the difference between accessibility and usability, why modern business websites need to be accessible, and the UX elements that you and your web designer should pay attention to when improving the accessibility of your site:
Is Accessibility the Same as Usability?
First, it’s important to clarify the difference between accessibility and usability. While the latter refers to how the design is used by your target audience, the former concerns itself with how all of your potential users will access your website. Usability, then, refers to whether people can use your website easily and accomplish particular goals, such as buying a product or learning new information related to a service you offer. Conversely, accessibility refers to whether every user can share the same and equal experience when using your website.
It is important to consider both aspects when designing your website, especially if you’re catering to a wider audience. Your end user should be able to use your website with ease, regardless of any disability they may have. That means that everyone should have the equal opportunity to use your website, get what they need from it, and share similar experiences while on it (without certain users feeling like they are missing out due to their disability). That being said, it’s truly in your best interest to design your website for both optimal usability and accessibility.
The Importance of Accessibility Today
Accessibility has become an even more important issue today, particularly with the rise of internet technologies and how they contribute to full and meaningful lives for the disabled and disadvantaged. More people than ever before are turning to the internet to fulfill their basic needs, whether that’s getting the daily news, buying groceries, keeping healthcare appointments, looking for jobs, or getting assistance from the government. Now that pretty diverse communities have become more reliant on the internet, it’s on you to adapt and be inclusive—and that should translate into accessible UX design for your site.
Similar to how physical accommodations must be provided in any establishment for the disabled, your website should promise an optimum experience for everyone, regardless of whether they have a disability.
Elements to Consider to Make Your UX Design More Accessible
Your web designer must be able to consider users with various disabilities, for example those with visual or hearing impairments, and create an interface that can cater to their specific needs and guarantee a smooth and intuitive experience.
Some aspects to consider include the following:
To improve your website’s overall accessibility, you may want to start with your keyboard accessibility. This means having most, if not all, functionalities available as keyboard strokes rather than relying on the traditional point-and-click option found in a mouse or mouse pad.
Knowing that some disabled website visitors may be using specialized computer keyboards, your designer must make your website design and navigation logical, easy to understand, and easy to navigate using a different keyboard. Your website should also follow a logical visual flow (for example, from left to right for Western viewers and right to left for some Asian users) so that your target audience knows where to look to complete a particular command or goal.
Next, your written content should be easy to read. This includes carefully considering its font style and size. As much as possible, avoid having most of your content written in cursive or typography with lots of loops and curves. In general, stick to professional-looking fonts such as Arial, Calibri, or even Times New Roman, as these are also easier to read on the part of users with vision problems.
Aside from your font, you should also consider the colors that you use on your website. The rule of thumb in web design is that simpler is always better. Aside from the colors used in your logo or banner, minimize the use of color throughout your website and opt to stay within a color palette that makes sense given your brand identity.
Regardless of whether your website is purely for information purposes or whether it acts as a dedicated ecommerce platform, it’s a good idea to limit your color schemes to one to three colors. You should also consider users who suffer from color blindness and avoid featuring calls to action (CTAs) that rely solely on color without any text instruction.
Lastly, some disabled users access websites through screen readers. These are devices that translate written text into synthesized speech, typically from left to right and from top to bottom. When designing your website, you’ll want to make sure that the information has a logical flow and can be easily read out by a screen reader tool that a visually impaired person might rely on.
Final Thoughts: Accessible Web Design Leads to a Better User Experience for All
Without a doubt, accessible web design leads to better UX for everyone because it leaves no visitor out. When followed, many accessibility requirements are capable of enhancing UX for both the abled and disabled, such as by guaranteeing them seamless navigation, ease at gathering and processing information, and a welcoming web environment.
Partner with SearchWorks today to design a website that can be accessed by anyone and appreciated by everyone. Visitors from all walks of life will be happy to know what you can offer them.