The whole world has around a billion people who are disabled. We should therefore create experiences and products that are accessible to these people too. If you don’t, you will be leaving out a large number of people. Google Primer once asked me to find out on the redesign of its website and application and this is something that I really put in mind.
It was challenging at first since I did not know where to start bearing in mind that there are very many disabilities to put in mind. I did my research and realized that disabilities can be visual, physical, aural or cognitive. Below are some of the tips that helped me in building the site.
Create Content That Can Be Perceived
The app that you will create will contain information that is valuable like product details, instructions, updates and much more. You might write the content but no one knows it is in existence. Color difference influence how people perceive your content. While creating Primer’s app, we contrasted the background and foreground colors. This helped to make our text to be conspicuous and more readable. The material design color tool was among our many guides.
You should, however, use more than one color to show information to people. The content you create should be perceived in different ways. For example, underlining and using a unique color to the title. In such an example, one who has color blindness might not see the color but will see the underlined text.
Give a Variety of Navigation Methods
Your website or application will see many people visiting it. All these people will have different ways of interacting with the website or application. For example, those with physical disabilities may use keyboard commands to navigate the site like the tab key and space bar. We therefore created a way through which one would move through the site by using keyboard commands only. We also ensured that people were guided through the content in our page in the right order.
Each site is different from another in one way or another. If you have a news website, you might not consider asking people to tab all the articles you have written so as to get a restaurant review. You should give room for users to use alternatives that can help them go over through information quickly and allow them to access what they want more easily.
Ensure Your Website Uses Different Browsers
You want to make your website as accessible as possible and to do this, you have to ensure that it works with many different browsers. You should also ensure that it supports a number of assistive technologies like screen readers. The Primer team, for example, added an ‘alt text’ to all images and this helped the screen reader technology to help users who are visually impaired to understand images better. This was written at the back end of the site.
You can also decide to add anything interactive like text mouth fields and icons. If you have a navigation site on your icon, you might consider giving it a label for screen readers to use. However, when creating labels remember to keep them brief and use many verbs. By doing that, those using assistive tools will not listen to long descriptions, but will instead focus on what action they need to take.
Do The Testing
During the creation process, ensure that you use different tools to test the experience and check how you can improve the accessibility of the site or application. Some web extensions can be used to get reports about your site. An example is Lighthouse by Google Chrome, which normally can run around 30 accessibility tests. In case, something goes wrong, you are redirected to a file which contains suggestions on how you can rectify the issue.
Accessibility Scanner app can be used if you are using a mobile. We should, however, note that tools will not notice everything so you should pay attention to the people using your website or application. Waiting until the end of the creation to do tests is not a good idea, you should do tests at every step.