Designing for accessibility has become increasingly important as more individuals require the use of accessible technology. With the advancements in technology and design, it has become easier to create products and services that people with disabilities can use effectively. As an entrepreneur or a designer, creating accessible products should be a priority, and a few considerations need to be made.
Understand the Accessibility Guidelines
The Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) provide principles, guidelines, and success criteria for designing accessible web content, applications, and other digital products and services. It is essential to ensure the guidelines are met during the design and development process to create products that are as accessible as possible. The guidelines are divided into four principles – perceivable, operable, understandable, and robust.
The perceivable principle aims to ensure that all users can perceive the content in web pages. This can be achieved by providing alt texts for images, videos or audio descriptions for people with visual or hearing impairments. The operable principle guarantees that any interface elements and navigation can be operated through the keyboard or mouse and other assistive technologies. Under the understandable principle, the language and structure of digital products and services need to be clear, concise, and easy to understand, taking into account individuals with cognitive disabilities. Finally, the robust principle ensures that digital products and services can be viewed and operated through a range of browsers and assistive technologies.
Consider a Target Audience
The accessibility requirements for different individuals with disabilities vary. Therefore, it is necessary to identify the target audience and tailor the design accordingly. For instance, text-to-speech software users require interfaces with less complicated designs and clear navigation options. At the same time, users with visual impairments might benefit from designs with high-contrast colors and font sizes.
Incorporate Accessibility Tools
Various tools and technologies can be incorporated into the design process to make it more accessible. For instance, text-to-speech software can enhance accessibility for individuals with hearing or visual impairments, while color contrast checkers can ensure color combinations meet the standards. Additionally, accessibility plugins, such as ARIA, can help enhance accessibility for screen readers and other assistive technologies.
Carry Out User Testing
Just as it is essential to carry out user testing for any design, it is also necessary to test adequately for accessibility. The testing phase should be inclusive of individuals with disabilities, who can use assistive technologies and identify accessible design flaws. User testing will help validate the products’ functionality, usability, and accessibility before they launch and ensure that they meet the WCAG standards.
Designing accessible products and services can be a challenging task, but it is necessary. By following the accessibility guidelines, considering target audiences, incorporating accessibility tools, and carrying out user testing, designers and entrepreneurs can ensure their products and services are accessible to everyone. Ultimately, accessible products and services not only provide equal opportunities but also have potential market growth and benefits to the society at large.