We Need to Talk About Accessibility

Liam Potter

11th January 2017

accessibility-image.jpg

When you’re creating a website or app, you need to provide a great experience for all users. With 15% of the world’s population having some form of disability (including 12 million people in the UK alone), you need to make sure you’re considering accessibility as a key element of the build process.

Accessibility is a vital part of designing and developing a website or app. It’s not just something that should be tacked on to a project for the sake of ticking a few boxes, accessibility features need to be baked into the core functionality of any website or app.

Nor is accessibility an extra cost for the sake of extra costs. In fact, it can be a big driver in increasing sales. Having an accessible website or app makes your product usable for more people, meaning you’ll have a wider range of people to target.

Accessibility Helps Everyone

Although accessibility is great for helping people with disabilities to access digital, it’s not just those who have disabilities who benefit from accessibility.

People can have accidents or become ill, which in turn can affect someone’s ability to access the web. For example, a broken arm could make it difficult to type or use a mouse. Eye infections could make it difficult to see text on a web page.

Although these problems are only temporary, they can still be a massive hindrance. By having an accessible website, you provide an immediate solution to that short-term problem.

Adding accessibility features also makes the user experience easier for everyone, regardless of whether that user has a disability/illness or not.

An example of this is Apple’s iOS accessibility features, which many people make use of not because they are disabled in any way, but because they find those features helpful. For example, the on screen home button gives quick access to a few different options.

How Do You Make Your Website Accessible?

Adding accessibility features to your website doesn’t mean hours upon hours of extra work – there are a number of basic ways that accessibility can be accommodated for, including:

  • Writing in Plain English
  • Making sites and apps navigable with just the keyboard Integrating services such as browsealoud
  • Using microformats (aria) to give html more context for screen readers (this also helps with search results)

 

Accessibility in Gaming

It’s not just in the development world that accessibility has become a key consideration. The gaming industry is taking big steps to make their games accessible with feet controllers, mouth controllers and other accessibility options built into their games.

Gaming Accessibility Mouth Controller

If they can figure out how to make action packed, fast-paced shooters playable for someone who doesn’t have use of their arms, then making a site or app work for people with poor vision should be pretty straight forward in comparison!

Accessibility is Key

At Mashbo we make accessibility a key part of the build process when creating apps and websites for all of our clients. Every one of our websites adheres to WCAG 2.0 (AA) guidelines.

Have a read of some our Nugent, PSS and Options For Supported Living case studies to see how we helped them to make accessibility a key part of their digital offering.

Options Homepage Screengrab

Feel free to call us and have a chat about how we can help you to make your website accessible to everyone.

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