Designing for Accessibility is not that Hard

This is an interesting article written by Pablo Stanley about seven easy-to implement guidelines to design a more accessible web.

Photo by Pablo Stanley
Photo by Pablo Stanley

Digital accessibility refers to the practice of building digital content and applications that can be used by a wide range of people, including individuals who have visual, motor, auditory, speech, or cognitive disabilities.

There’s a myth that making a website accessible is difficult and expensive, but it doesn’t have to. Designing a product from scratch that meets the requirements for accessibility doesn’t add extra features or content; therefore there shouldn’t be additional cost and effort.

Fixing a site that is already inaccessible may require some effort, though. When I used to work at Carbon Health, we checked the accessibility of our site using the AXE Chrome Extension. We found 28 violations that we needed to solve on the home page alone. It sounded complicated, but we discovered that these problems were not that hard to correct; it was just a matter of investing time and research to solve them. We were able to get to zero errors in a couple of days.

I want to share with you some of the simple steps we took so you can also make your sites more accessible. These principles focus on web and mobile accessibility.

But before we get started, let’s talk about why that’s important.

Why designing for accessibility? 🤔

As designers, we have the power and responsibility to make sure that everyone has access to what we create regardless of ability, context, or situation. The great thing about making our work accessible is that it brings a better experience to everyone.

There are over 56 million people in the United States (nearly 1 in 5) and over 1 billion people worldwide who have a disability. In 2017, there were 814 website accessibility lawsuits filed in federal and state courts. These two pieces of data alone should convince us of the importance of designing for accessibility.

There is also a strong business case for accessibility: studies show that accessible websites have better search results, they reach a bigger audience, they’re SEO friendly, have faster download times, they encourage good coding practices, and they always have better usability.