Accessibility Tips For Inclusive Design in Digital Spaces

May 22,
2022, is Global Accessibility Awareness Day, and we took some time to learn
more about inclusive digital design with curiosity and honor. Every user
deserves a first-rate digital experience on the web (The World Bank).

billion people around the globe - 15% of the world's population - can't access
most of the internet's information or services (The World Health Organization).
As marketers, we can do our part to connect with people from all walks of life
by making digital media accessible through inclusive design. It is the right
thing to do, but it's also the law. We put together some of the general WCAG21
standards to consider when planning your next web redesign or digital project*.

for People Who Are Blind or Visually Impaired

In a
recent study, New Window U.S. researchers found that an estimated 7.3 million
Americans have a vision disability, ranging from impaired vision to total
blindness. That means that 2.3% of the U.S. population needs assistive
technology to access the web entirely.

with vision impairments may use assistive technology such as screen readers to
browse your site (WCAG21).

Alt-Text: your images need to have
alternative text (or alt text) or an image description. Adding these
descriptions allows images to be read by screen readers for visitors with
visual impairments (WIX).

: screen
readers also need a design that helps them differentiate the page's structure
by tagging headings, heading definitions, and organized heading tags.

o   The main heading is the
title of your page. Adding and defining the main header tells site visitors
what the page is about.

o   The heading definition allows
visitors to navigate your site by communicating your page content hierarchy
with screen readers (WIX).

duplicate tags

ensures that the heading is clear for your visitors. Duplicate heading tags can
occur when a line breaks in a heading (WIX), leading to not being able to be
read correctly by screen readers.

Contrast Text
Another common accessibility standard for visitors who have vision impairments
that is often missed stems from Low Contrast Text, mainly due to Color contrast.
The required standards are:

the text color and background color contrast to a ratio of 4.5:1 for
standard text
and 3:1 for large text.

o   Using a contrast ratio of at least 3:1
for graphics and user interface components (form input borders, placeholders,

o   And knowing Level AAA requires a
higher contrast ratio of at least 7:1 for standard text and 4.5:1
for large text.

o   If you are in the process of
launching your media online or going through a redesign, you can use the WEB
AIM's Contrast Checker. It tests the color contrast by comparing the foreground
and background colors and using the web or hex color codes.

for People Deaf or Hard of Hearing

About 466
million people worldwideAbout 466 million people worldwide, and 15% of
Americans have deafness, hearing loss, and are hard of hearing (ADA Site Compliance).
You can provide an inclusive digital space by offering captions to video and
text transcripts for audio content (The World Wide Web Consortium) to ensure
the website is keyboard-accessible in your media.

and Captions
: For
example, a person who is deaf or hard-of-hearing gets audio information from
transcripts or captions (The World Wide Web Consortium). Keep your video
content up to date with accurate subtitles and captions; this includes
descriptions of non-spoken sounds like thunder, laughter, etc.

content summaries are just as crucial as sub-titles and captions. The
description only needs to be an overview of the video's content for the hearing
impaired to understand better (ADA Site Compliance).

: Be
sure to provide several ways that someone can contact you on your website and
other networks other than your phone number. Offer other means of contact and
communication (ADA Site Compliance) like email, skype, live webchat, or online
forms are easier ways for people who are deaf or hard of hearing to communicate.

: Your
content should be flexible enough for users to access (ADA Site Compliance) and
let users enlarge content using screen magnifiers and render screen readers.

As you can
see, these are a few of many WCAG21 standards that help web designers meet the needs
of people who have disabilities. We recommend working with an accessibility
consultant on your next web redesign.


* ADA laws and digital standards are
complex and change frequently. While NEW Consulting makes every effort to meet
or exceed accessibility standards, we are not experts, nor do we provide legal
advice on accessibility on the web.