Design With Accessibility In Mind
Have you looked at your company’s website and considered if users with disabilities are able to view, experience and navigate the site? In today’s digital age, companies are increasingly realizing the importance of making their web content accessible to everyone, regardless of their abilities or disabilities. Accessibility in design refers to the practice of creating digital content that can be used by individuals with a range of impairments, such as visual, auditory, cognitive and motor disabilities.
Neglecting accessibility not only poses legal liabilities for businesses but also means missing out on potential customers. In this blog post, we will explore the significance of accessibility and ADA compliance in B2B marketing and provide insights into how businesses can prioritize accessibility and inclusion when designing their digital content.
What is “accessibility in design”?
Accessibility in design refers to the practice of creating digital content that can be used by people with a range of abilities and disabilities, including visual, auditory, cognitive and motor impairments. Key design considerations include:
Perceivability: Consider the use of high-contrast colors, provide text alternatives for images and avoid relying solely on color to convey information. This accommodates users with visual impairments who may rely on assistive technologies like screen readers.
Operability: Ensure that websites and applications can be fully navigated and interacted with using a keyboard alone. Provide clear focus indicators and logical tab order to assist users with motor disabilities.
Understandability: Present content in a clear and concise manner, using plain language, consistent navigation and hierarchical organization. This helps users with cognitive disabilities better comprehend and navigate digital content.
Robustness: Follow web standards, use correct HTML markup and offer fallback options for interactive features. This ensures compatibility across various assistive technologies and platforms, promoting accessibility even as technologies evolve.
User Feedback and Testing: Involve users with disabilities in the design process through regular testing. Seek their input and feedback to identify and address accessibility issues, making iterative improvements to enhance inclusivity.
By considering accessibility from the start, designers can create digital experiences that cater to a wider range of individuals, promoting inclusivity and equal access to information and services for all users. Adhering to accessibility guidelines, such as those outlined by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), is crucial to avoid legal consequences and foster an inclusive digital environment.
What are the benefits of designing for accessibility and inclusion?
Improved User Experience
When digital content is designed with accessibility in mind, it becomes more usable and easier to navigate for everyone, regardless of abilities. For example, providing closed captions for videos can make the content accessible not only to deaf or hard-of-hearing users but also to users who may be watching the video in a noisy environment.
Increased Market Reach
By making digital content accessible, businesses can tap into a wider market of users with disabilities, who may have previously been unable to access their products or services. This can be particularly beneficial for businesses in the healthcare, education or financial industries, where accessibility is especially important. For instance, a healthcare company offering telemedicine services through a mobile app can extend its reach by ensuring accessibility for individuals with disabilities. By implementing accessible design practices, such as screen reader compatibility and keyboard navigation, the company enables visually impaired and motor-disabled users to navigate the app, access health information, schedule appointments and communicate with healthcare professionals. Prioritizing accessibility not only meets legal requirements but also increases customer engagement, loyalty and positive brand reputation while promoting equal access to healthcare services for all individuals.
Enhanced Brand Reputation
By demonstrating a commitment to inclusivity and diversity, businesses can build a positive brand reputation among customers, employees and other stakeholders. For example, by making websites accessible, businesses can show that they value all users, regardless of their abilities. This can also lead to positive word-of-mouth marketing and increased customer loyalty.
What are the risks of ignoring accessibility and inclusion in design?
Negative Impact on Users
While designing for accessibility and inclusion can have many benefits for businesses, failing to prioritize these considerations can have serious risks and consequences. One of the key risks of overlooking accessibility and inclusion is a negative impact on users; it can unintentionally exclude people with disabilities and make it difficult or impossible for them to use the content. This can lead to lost business opportunities and harm a business’s reputation.
Ensuring compliance is not just a matter of good practice, but also a legal obligation. By prioritizing accessibility, businesses can reduce the risk of legal action and fines. For example, a major retailer paid a significant $6 million settlement after a lawsuit alleged their website was not accessible to blind users. Don’t let your business be caught off guard — prioritize accessibility to avoid legal consequences and create a more inclusive digital environment for all users.
Brand Reputation Damage
Not prioritizing accessibility can be seen as exclusionary and insensitive, which can turn off potential customers and lead to negative publicity and damage a business’s brand reputation. In today’s digital world, businesses that do not prioritize accessibility run the risk of alienating a significant portion of the population and missing out on potential customers.
By creating digital content that is accessible to all individuals, businesses can improve the user experience, expand reach and enhance their reputation. At the same time, ignoring accessibility and inclusion can have serious consequences, including legal risks and negative impacts on users. It’s important for designers and companies to prioritize all users in their designs/products.
Are you wondering if your digital content is accessible and/or what changes could be made to make it even more inclusive? Our team takes a comprehensive approach to diagnosing and remediating accessibility issues, ensuring that your digital content is fully compliant and accessible to all users. Don’t miss out on expanding your reach and improving user experience. Contact us to conduct a website audit to find out how to make your digital presence more accessible and inclusive.
For more information, check out:
Aaron Kim - Creative Director
As a Creative Director, Aaron immerses himself in his client’s business, technology, products and markets and truly “owns” the account and the work produced by the creative team.
Megan Heck - Senior Front-End Designer
As a seasoned front-end designer, Megan focuses on delivering impactful and intuitive products that cater to all users. With a Web Accessibility certification, their expertise in creating engaging product designs that drive user action has consistently delivered exceptional results for clients, making them a valuable asset in solving problems and fostering inclusive digital experiences.