Building a reputable brand means taking into consideration the needs and wants of customers, and a huge part of this is ensuring that your website is inclusive and accessible to all users. Regardless of disability, all users should be able to navigate your website, and by taking the time to consider this in the design process, you can build a reputation of inclusivity.
By making sure that your website is accessible, you allow more website visitors to interact with your brand and make purchases or get in touch about your services. In this article, we will break down some of the most important ways you can design your website with all users in mind.
Provide text descriptions
Great websites provide text descriptions for images and videos so that users who are visually impaired can understand the content. Images and videos are great for some users to get to know your brand, but others might prefer to rely on explanations through text or be unable to view photos or videos entirely.
Also, focus on using descriptive headings and labels for buttons and links. This provides clear instructions to navigate your website, which makes things easier for those who struggle with more ambiguous symbols and images.
Use a simple layout
Use a clear and practical layout for your website with your visitors’ ease in mind. This should include easy-to-read fonts, sufficient contrast in colours and backgrounds of text, and clear navigation, with buttons and links distinguished from the body of the text.
We also recommend avoiding flashing or moving elements, as these can be distracting and harmful for some users, for example, those with photosensitive epilepsy. Website visitors are keen to find the information they need quickly, and unnecessary moving parts can be not only frustrating, but restrictive for some users with certain disorders and disabilities.
Allow for keyboard navigation
When designing your webpage, make sure that users can navigate your website using only the keyboard, as some users may have difficulty using a mouse or touchpad. This means providing keyboard shortcuts for important links and buttons and avoiding relying on hover effects or mouse-only interactions. If you aren’t confident on how to do this, Webpop Design have created an in-depth guide about making your website more accessible, which can aid you in adapting your content for all users.
Use captions and transcripts
Some website visitors may be deaf or hard of hearing, and therefore providing ways of understanding video or audio content is important as an alternative. Providing captions and transcripts for video and audio allows these users to access this information and understand your brand, product and service effectively.
Also, consider providing sign language interpretation for important videos. What might seem like an insignificant choice to you when designing your website, makes a monumental difference to those with disabilities.
Use colour effectively
Avoid relying solely on colour to convey information, as some users may have difficulty distinguishing between different colours. Instead, use labels to differentiate between elements to avoid confusion. You can consider making buttons and links to other pages a contrasting colour as a visual aid, but use a written prompt too.
Make forms and inputs accessible
In order to get in contact or make a purchase, website users will have to fill in some kind of form, therefore it is important to check that forms and input fields are accessible for all users.
This means providing instructions for inputting information, and ensuring that the form is compatible with screen readers for those who cannot read the information themselves. A simplistic design without images or videos is likely best for any forms you design to minimise distractions.
Test for accessibility
When designing your website, it can be easy to overlook how others might struggle to navigate aspects of the site which you find clear and simple. Therefore, you might choose to use accessibility tools and test your website with assistive technology to ensure that it is inclusive for all users. This can include tools like screen readers, magnifiers, and voice recognition software.
Further, you might choose to carry out market research to get feedback directly from those with different disorders or disabilities to understand how you can improve your webpage to make it accessible to everyone.
By designing for accessibility, you can create a website that is inclusive and allows everyone to engage with your content. Also, you build a brand which puts its customers as number one priority, encouraging return visits to your website and developing a well-founded reputation as a business. User experience is paramount when designing your website, so consider these tips to ensure that your content is available to the widest possible audience.