Inclusive design is a relatively new field of web development. It focuses on the needs and desires of all site visitors, regardless of their abilities or disabilities. The inclusive design breaks down barriers that may prevent users from interacting with your website or mobile app in the way they want to, using tools like accessiBe and others. The goal is for everyone to feel welcome and accommodated by your site’s content and functionality—regardless of race, gender identity, physical ability, language competence, age group, socioeconomic status, sexual orientation, or any other category you can think up.
Here are some tips on applying these principles to your site.
1. Be mindful of color
One major challenge people with color blindness face is distinguishing between colors. For example, many users may not distinguish the difference between red and green—the colors used as “Go” and “Stop” commands in some websites. This can lead to confusion and frustration for site visitors and other users. Fortunately, there are several ways to increase color contrast and aid users’ recognition.
2. Review your font stack
When it comes to font choice for websites, you generally have two options: serif or sans-serif. Serif fonts generally contain lines extending from the letters of the alphabet, similar to Times New Roman, while sans-serif fonts do not. The difference between these two types of fonts is often negligible, but it can greatly impact site visitors with visual impairments. Some sans-serif fonts are easier to read when enlarged, so if you want your site’s text to be legible at larger font sizes, consider using one of these types.
3. Increase font size
Speaking of fonts, using a larger font size is another way to make your content more accessible for users with visual impairments or difficulties processing text quickly. Instead of sizing down the text on your site to maintain its design aesthetics, you can increase its readability by increasing its size.
4. Incorporate alt text
Alt-text is an HTML attribute that provides alternative contextual information for images on a page. For example, screen readers often use it to describe the images they read aloud to blind or low-vision users. The text should be descriptive enough to stand on its own as a caption if the image is removed.
5. Don’t rely on hover states
Hover effects can be fun and useful, but they shouldn’t be the only way people interact with your website content. This is often a problem in navigational menus, where it’s common for links to change color or become underlined when hovered over.
6. Make links easy to distinguish
Differentiating between clickable and non-clickable content can be difficult for site visitors who have visual impairments or cannot use a mouse. This is another example of where using font contrast can be very helpful. You can increase the contrast between text links and background colors by using borders, padding, different colors, or other design elements.
Inclusive design is a relatively new field of web development, but it’s quickly gaining popularity. Inclusive design aims to make websites and mobile apps accessible for everyone, regardless of ability or disability. There are several ways you can begin incorporating these principles into your site, such as being mindful of color usage, increasing the font size, using alt text, and making links easy to distinguish. With a little effort, you can create an enjoyable experience for all site visitors.