Accessibility on the web

Design Food for Thought Website Design Reading Time: 2 minutes

The internet is an extremely important resource for so many of us and affects so many aspects of our daily lives. We use the internet to access education, finding employment, to learn an instrument, a language, for recreation, signing up to vote, buying clothing, buying food and so much more. An accessible web is important to ensure those with disabilities have equal access to all that the internet can offer.

ARIA labels

MDN say

Accessible Rich Internet Applications (ARIA) is a set of attributes that define ways to make web content and web applications (especially those developed with JavaScript) more accessible to people with disabilities.
As websites are now typically very graphic heavy it can be difficult for those with visual impairments and other disabilities to interact through visual clues, so it’s important to give clarity on the purpose of each element that makes up a site to ensure the experience is fluid for everyone who visits.

An example of how this could be implemented on a navigation element:

<button aria-label="menu" class="hamburger"></button>

This kind of definition is vital for assistive technologies (AT) like screen readers to understand how your content is displayed, its inter-relationships and how its navigated so they can accurately read the contents of your website.
Screen readers themselves are essential for people who are blind, illiterate, suffer from visual impairment or have learning disabilities.

Colour blindess

This is arguably the most difficult aspect of web accessibilty. It can be extremely difficult to accomodate the neccassary changes to your website when they will directly conflict with your brand.
This is why it’s important when deciding on colour pallettes for your website, you think about the differing forms of colour blindness and how your colours will be percieved by others.
According to colourblindawareness.org

Colour (color) blindness (colour vision deficiency, or CVD) affects approximately 1 in 12 men (8%) and 1 in 200 women in the world. In Britain, this means that there are approximately 3 million colour blind people (about 4.5% of the entire population), most of whom are male.
This is no small number and highlights the importance of ensuring the colours on your site are clear with strong contrast to ensure users with colour blindness and other visual impairment issues enjoy the same experience as other users.

Here are some of the useful tools we use:

Our work

It’s important that we practise what we preach here at Damteq®. A great example of a site where we took an accessibility first approach is a specialist, boutique social care and social housing recruiting agency First for Support.
You can view a report of their accessibility score from WAVE here. You’ll notice some minor issues with duplicate links. Some things are unavoidable in a build and that’s okay, as long as you nail the core points, users of varying ability will have a fluid and positive experience on your site.

If you want to know more about accessibility and how to make your website more accessible, have a chat with us.

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