The use of digital products has become rampant and a way of life for most people in the digital world. However, for people living with temporary or permanent disabilities, the experience might be different where there are no inclusivity efforts made. To make every user’s experience equal, it is important to consider designs that make digital products easy to use, accommodating, and tolerable. This can greatly reduce the bounce rate on websites as well as increasing preference for apps, tools, browsers, and other digital products. Here are 7 ideas for inclusive web design.
1. Enhance readability
People with reading difficulties can find it hard to read complex words. In addition, poor typography can affect the visually impaired while inconsistency affects people with cognitive disabilities. To take care of the typography, consider aligning text to either right or left, use efficient line and paragraph spacing, and have a paragraph width of about 80 words. In addition, ensure that links are underlined to improve visual contrast. When it comes to helping people with cognitive disabilities, use simple language and ensure that link text is well described. Additionally, ensure that the text is structured with headings and subheadings. It also helps to define abbreviations in the first use.
2. Support keyboard navigation
Keyboard navigation allows users to navigate through a website using the tab and enter keys. This is especially useful for users with motor and visual disabilities. It gives them the ability to select interactive elements in a webpage. You can test whether your website supports keyboard navigation by visiting your web pages to see how well it works. If you experience difficulties, make an effort to make it better for the users.
3. Assist users to fix mistakes
Mistakes are inevitable for all users. However, there are increased chances for mistakes when a person is finding it difficult to understand something due to a cognitive disability or is unable to type well due to a motor disability. It can be frustrating for such users when they don’t know what to do when they make a mistake. Rather than forcing them to fix errors themselves, use a creative design that helps them do so. For instance, utilize form labels to describe input fields and placeholders to give an example of acceptable input. In addition, using autofill features helps reduce typing requirements.
4. Optimize website for screen readers
Screen readers make text audible for users with visual difficulties. However, it becomes difficult for them to convey design elements on images and icons where text description is missing. It is very important to optimize your website for screen readers, especially for images and icons.
Making your website screen reader-friendly happens in the development stages. Images that lack descriptive text can be described using HTML. When deciding on the right platform to build your website, ensure that it supports different HTML elements such as semantic HTML. It should also support other features such as ARIA landmark roles. You can find ample information on how to build a website from scratch where you can learn about such things. Alternatively, hire a developer to help you with this.
5. Use large buttons
Call-to-action buttons and interactive elements are some of the most important components of web design. In this case, they should be made large enough to be easily spotted by every user. This also makes it easy for users to click on the right choice especially where users have a visual impairment. Interaction with websites and other digital products is enhanced with large and clear buttons.
6. Use customizable text
It can be easy to think that a certain font size is big enough for all users to read. However, you might find that some users find it difficult to read your text in the font size that you have chosen. When deciding the font size to use, keep such users in mind. It is more beneficial to make the font size adjustable to enhance the users’ reading experience. You can make use of a magnifying tool to help users zoom out the text to their comfortable size.
7. Provide captions for video content
People with hearing loss have difficulty understanding video content where there are no captions. To them, it is more like the experience you would have trying to watch a video that is in a foreign language. That being said, ensure that you provide captions for every video content that you use in your digital products.
The rule of the thumb in designing inclusive digital products is to remember that you are not designing them for your use. Keep in mind users who have varying disabilities and try as much as possible to incorporate designs that include them. Make the text readable with adjustable font size for the visually impaired. Remember to add captions to videos and to use large buttons for interactive elements. In addition, consider features such as screen readers and keyboard navigation as well as offer help in fixing errors.