The important topic of “Digital Accessibility and Inclusive Design” was discussed during this morning’s Digitalks webinar.
Some ‘accessibility problems’ were identified as:
1. Images – where information is presented visually with no other alternative.
2. Forms – where the same information and functionality provided for sighted persons is not available.
3. Navigation – where the user interface is confusing or unavailable for keyboard or screen reader users.
Case studies were presented where organisations used inaccessible images on their website featuring coupons and sales discounts. The Court ordered that the website be changed to be more accessible. This was because the images (rather than text) could not be seen by the Screen Readers used by visually impaired people.
Similar examples were given where websites with forms were changed because people with disabilities had difficulty completing, reviewing and submitting the forms.
Reasons to improve accessibility include:
1. The spending power of the disabled population is significant – in the UK spending by disabled people was worth $329 billion.
2. Disabled people are the world’s fastest growing minority – due to population growth, medical advances and the ageing process.
3. Accessibility supports Diversity and Inclusion initiatives.
4. Designing for people with permanent disabilities results in designs that benefit everyone.
There was discussion on the types of disability – Permanent, Temporary and Situational. For example:
With regards Sight: Permanent would be blindness, Temporary would be cataracts and Situational would be a distracted driver.
For Touch: Permanent would be losing an arm; Temporary would be an arm injury and Situational would be a new parent holding a child.
For Hearing: Permanent would be deafness; Temporary would be an ear infection and Situational would be working in a noisy environment.
The WebAIM Million project was discussed – this is an annual accessibility analysis of the top 1,000,000 home pages. It was found that 98.1% of home pages had detectable WCAG2 (Web Content Accessibility Guidelines) failures.
In summary it was concluded that everyone (UX designers, developers, content strategists, senior leaders) has a shared responsibility for ensuring that web content is accessible and inclusive for all.
Thanks to the speakers: Andrew Miller and Jeremy Osborn, Aquent