The World Health Organization estimates that about 15% of the world population lives with a disability, however, designing an accessible user experience benefits not only users with disabilities, as accessibility tends to correlate with overall usability. In addition, as the world population grows older, more and more people will be living with some type of disability. This is why accessibility benefits everyone and creating accessible products is an investment for an accessible future!
Rules that are meant to be followed
The Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) are published by an initiative of the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C), which is led by Tim Berners-Lee – you know, the guy who gave us the Web and in turn our entire online existence – no big deal. The WCAG outline how to make accessible web content and furthermore, they provide the most relevant international protocol for accessibility evaluations.
Among many other criteria, the WCAG suggest that a website should offer equivalent alternatives to auditory and visual content and that the HTML code should fulfill certain standards so that content can be read by screen readers. This is done by using clear headings for your text content, and alt texts to describe your images, for example.
Your text content should be set in a font that facilitates legibility and readability. You should also implement the possibility to adjust the text size in an easily found location on the page, and text should have a sufficient contrast to its background so it can easily be read, also by those with visual impairments.
When distinguishing between elements or symbols, you shouldn’t rely on colour differences alone, this makes it easier for users with Colour Vision Deficiency (colour blindness). One of the most important measures to implement is the ability to navigate solely with the keyboard which meets the needs of several user groups, such as those with motor disabilities or those using screen readers.
Using patterns or text labels allows users to distinguish between elements even if they can’t distinguish between the colours. Source: Smashing Magazine
Playing by the rules means more people to play with
In Germany, the BITV (Barrierefreie-Informationstechnik-Verordnung) accessibility guidelines are based on the WCAG. Dutch, Swedish, and UK guidelines are also modeled after, or are direct copies of, the WCAG. While accessibility is already a legal requirement in many countries for government websites, it’s also an important factor for the user experience of company websites.
Enabling accessibility for your website increases your potential customer base compared to less accessible websites (perhaps those of your competitors). You’re simply increasing traffic because more people can actually use your site without any type of restriction. Moreover, companies with accessible websites are acknowledging their social responsibility – making websites accessible to everyone is an obvious choice in modern society.
Let us explain the rules
Many of our clients have realized the importance of accessibility and have asked us about accessibility testing for their digital products. Our UX experts will evaluate your website according to the relevant guidelines and provide you with feedback regarding accessibility issues, including recommended ways to improve your website. The results can be used to open your website up to a larger customer base as well as make it more accessible and efficient, and less error-prone for all of your users.
Time to focus on all your users?
Are you interested in ensuring that your website is accessible to everyone? Get in touch with us and let us help your company stand out with a modern, all-welcoming digital product.
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About the author
Fredrik is our International Marketing Intern, splitting time between university and our office here in Amsterdam.
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Testbirds specialises in the testing of software such as apps, websites and Internet of Things applications by using innovative technologies and solutions. Under the slogan, “Testing Reality”, the company offers various testing methods to its clients looking to optimise the user-friendliness and functionality of their digital products. With over 250,000 registered testers located in 193 countries, Testbirds is one of the world’s leading crowdtesting providers. In addition, the IT service provider utilises cloud based technologies to support customers in the optimisation of their digital products. The combination of the two testing methods delivers a unique and extensive portfolio that takes the quality of software to the next level. Testbirds was founded in 2011 by Philipp Benkler, Georg Hansbauer and Markus Steinhauser. Today, the company has over 100 employees. Other than its headquarters in Munich, there are now offices in Amsterdam, London and Stockholm, franchises in Hungary and Russia and sales partners in Italy.
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