UX Professional

Can everyone use your website? 

As a UX professional, you constantly think about how your audience experiences websites you help build. From design to content to overall functionality – you want to keep users on your site and help them accomplish their goals. But have you ever thought about how a person with a disability would use a website? 

Accessibility does not have to be a scary word. Outlook Business Solutions can teach you what users with disabilities need to access a website. 

A few things to consider 

  • The discretionary income (money to spend after taxes and living expenses) of working-age adults with disabilities is about $21 billion. 
  • When encountering a website or app that is not accessible, more than 70% of people with disabilities will move on to a business that is accessible. 
  • Digital accessibility lawsuits under the Americans with Disabilities Act in 2020 increased by 23% over 2019. This does not include state-level cases other than California, where the Unruh Act mirrors the ADA. 
  • Software created to crawl code for accessibility errors catches only about 30% of accessibility issues. 
  • Recent complaints regarding website accessibility have included the ineffectiveness of accessibility overlays or plugins, which can also compromise site security, according to Converge Accessibility. 

What can I do about it? 

Accessibility allows all users – regardless of their disability – to use, understand and enjoy the web.  

Design with an inclusive mentality. 

Accessibility is about more than just one group of people, such as visually impaired, hard of hearing, or people with cognitive disabilities. It also includes anyone experiencing a situational, permanent or temporary disability. For example, a person with one arm has a permanent disability, while an injury preventing the use of one arm is temporary. Holding a baby in one arm is situational. Each of these contexts leaves only one hand to complete online tasks. In other words, you want all users to experience the same thing when they visit your site. 

Some basic design guidelines: 

  • Avoid vague link descriptions, such as “click here.” 
  • Pair text and graphical objects with color to share important information. 
  • Maintain a consistent design system, pattern library or style guide. 
  • Use alternative text to label images and graphics. 

Keep it simple 

It is possible to create a webpage that functions well and looks nice. Remember any usability challenges noticed by a user without a disability definitely will be noticed by a disabled user. Consider how a person with vision loss using a mobile phone would access the web. Depending on vision, this user would either magnify the screen or listen to everything with a screen reader through a series of gestures. Think about how a person with dyslexia would comprehend your messages. Long sentences might be hard to read. 

Here are a few suggestions. 

  • Simplify copy – Less text on a page makes it easier for sighted people to scan and faster for screen readers to listen to. 
  • Reduce interaction cost by organizing workflows to help people complete tasks more efficiently. 
  • Set up your page with headings. This allows everyone to quickly navigate a page, especially users with disabilities. 

So, now what? 

Outlook Business Solutions can provide digital accessibility support through our Ally Support Program. You can add accessibility expertise to your team without adding full-time staff. Learn how to spot and remove any accessibility issues and validate your changes with on-demand spot testing during development. Think of us as your partner in creating websites that everyone can use. 

Learn more about our subscription program here, or contact us to learn more.