Web design is a complicated business. There are a multitude of things that you need to consider, which is why working with website designers in Kingston is such a good idea.
One area that you shouldn’t forget about is accessibility. Much like a physical premises needs to be accessible to those with disabilities, a website should also allow people to find information and access your products or services if they have a disability.
This is where inclusive design comes in. A recent article for Vertical Measures highlighted some of the main things to consider when you’re getting to grips with web accessibility. It’s important to remember that this offers benefits to your business as well as those using your website. By making it accessible, you’re growing your audience.
You should also remember that accessibility measures won’t just help those with disabilities, like vision or hearing impairment. They will also help older people, someone who’s forgotten their glasses, a person with a broken arm – the list goes on.
There are three main areas that inclusive design focuses on – hearing impairment, vision impairment and physical disabilities.
The blog applied the US Web Consortium Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) to its suggestions to help you see where you could make changes to your site.
Firstly you should look at whether your site is what they describe as perceivable. That means can users “perceive your site with their available senses”. For those with visual impairment, it might mean ensuring that your website can be used with a screen reader.
Providing written alternatives to audio content is advisable for those with hearing impairment, meanwhile. From a design perspective, thinking about the size of the elements on the page, as well as the contrast between any writing and the background is vital.
Next up is your website’s operability. Can it be used by someone who may not be able to operate a mouse? Can a user navigate your whole site using a keyboard only?
Making your website easily understandable should be a goal whether you’re focusing on accessibility or not. But ensuring that everything is easy to find and that content is clear and concise will help make it more inclusive.
Finally, you should check the code to ensure your website works across all browsers and devices efficiently. That includes older browser versions so that you don’t exclude anyone with older technology.
Earlier this year, LocalGov highlighted the introduction of the EU Web Accessibility Directive, which is being rolled out in four stages, starting this month.
It’s aimed only at public sector bodies at present, but it’s likely to have a knock-on effect to other industries. The aim is to introduce minimum accessibility standards for all websites and apps to ensure that everyone can use them.
The first deadline introduces the law into individual EU countries and makes the public bodies legally responsible for the accessibility of their digital platforms. By this time next year, any new sites built will have to comply with the regulations, and by September 2020 any pre-existing websites will need to have been brought in line too.