Web accessibility means designing and developing websites that are usable by everyone, regardless of their abilities or disabilities. Web accessibility is not only a moral and legal obligation but also a business opportunity and a competitive advantage. According to the World Health Organization, more than one billion people in the world have some form of disability, and this number is expected to rise as the population ages. By making your website accessible, you can reach a wider audience, improve your SEO, enhance your brand’s reputation, and avoid potential lawsuits. In this blog, we will explore the essential requirements for accessibility in web design.
Table of Contents
- 1 Five Important Accessibility Considerations in Web Design
- 2 Wrapping up
Five Important Accessibility Considerations in Web Design
Let’s explore five essential accessibility considerations that web designers must take into account to ensure that their websites are inclusive and accessible to everyone.
1. Provide sufficient contrast between foreground and background
One of the most common accessibility issues is low contrast between text and background colors. Low contrast can make it hard for people with low vision, color blindness, or other visual impairments to read your content. To ensure sufficient contrast, you should follow the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.1, which specify a minimum contrast ratio of 4.5:1 for normal text and 3:1 for large text. You can use online tools to check the contrast ratio of your colors.
2. Don’t use color alone to convey information
Another common accessibility issue is relying on color alone to communicate meaning. For example, using red to indicate required fields in a form, or using green and red to show positive and negative values in a chart. This can be problematic for people who are color blind or have difficulty distinguishing colors. To make your website accessible, you should always provide additional cues that do not depend on color perception.
For example, you can use an asterisk or a label to mark required fields and use symbols or text to differentiate values in a chart.
3. Ensure that interactive elements are easy to identify
Interactive elements are those that users can click, tap, hover over, or focus on to perform an action or access more information. Examples of interactive elements are buttons, links, menus, tabs, sliders, checkboxes, and radio buttons. To make your website accessible, you should ensure that interactive elements are easy to identify and distinguish from non-interactive elements.
For example, you can use different shapes, sizes, colors, borders, shadows, or icons to indicate interactivity. You should also provide clear and descriptive labels for interactive elements, and avoid using vague terms like “click here” or “read more”.
Navigation is the process of moving from one page or section of your website to another. To make your website accessible, you should provide clear and consistent navigation options that allow users to find what they are looking for easily and quickly.
For example, you should use a descriptive and logical page title for each page; provide a clear and visible site logo that links to the home page; use a consistent and responsive navigation menu that works across different devices and screen sizes; provide breadcrumbs or other indicators of the current location within the site; provide a search function that allows users to find content by keywords; and provide a sitemap that shows the overall structure of the site.
5. Ensure that form elements include precise associated labels
Forms are one of the most important and common ways of interacting with websites. Forms allow users to enter information, make choices, submit feedback, register accounts, place orders, and more. To make your website accessible, you should ensure that form elements include clearly associated labels that describe their purpose and function.
For example, you should use the <label> element to link each form control with its corresponding label; use the <fieldset> and <legend> elements to group related form controls and provide a descriptive title; use the <placeholder> attribute to provide hints or examples of expected input; use the <required> attribute to indicate mandatory fields; use the <aria-describedby> attribute to link form controls with additional instructions or error messages.
These are just some of the considerations for accessibility in web design. There are many more aspects to consider, such as:
- Provide alternative text for images,
- Provide captions and transcripts for audio and video,
- Provide keyboard access and focus indicators for all functionality,
- Provide controls for content that starts automatically,
- testing your website with different browsers, devices, screen readers, and users, and following the WCAG guidelines for web accessibility.
We hope that you now have a clear understanding of web design considerations for accessibility. If you need assistance with accessibility services, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.