Your website is only universally useful if it’s accessible by people of all abilities, including those with auditory, cognitive, intellectual, motor, speech, or visual disabilities. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), more than one billion people worldwide have a disability, including 253 million people who are visually impaired and 466 million people with hearing loss.
1. Make accessibility a core mission.
Before you even get started with the nitty-gritty of wireframing your website, make sure that creating an accessible user experience is one of the core goals of your website build. According to Tim Berners-Lee, inventor of the World Wide Web and director of the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C), “The power of the Web is in its universality. Access by everyone regardless of disability is an essential aspect.”
Ensuring that the culture of inclusion flows through all areas of the design, development, and QA processes will help in delivering an accessible, high-quality user experience.
2. Train your teams.
It’s important to provide relevant accessibility training to all employees and teams that will be involved in the new website build. With most builds, your teams will consist of the following:
All of your teams need to be aware of what accessible design looks like according to Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG). Additionally, all teams must be trained in the legal implications of achieving compliance according to Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) Title III guidelines. For training in accessible design, its challenges, as well as deeper dives into WCAG 2.0 and accessible web development and app accessibility, specific teams should be pulled in and receive in-depth training.
For example, UsableNet offers a WCAG 2.0 QA Deep Dive training module, which is relevant for the QA team, but not for others. Our Accessibility for QA Team training module is absolutely necessary for management and the QA team, but it’s optional for marketing. We also offer a WCAG 2.0 Developer Deep Dive module, which is exclusively recommended for the Web Development team.
3. Run a UX prototype review.
A UX prototype review can help you inform future development and design by reviewing an existing site or app for a competitive assessment. This comprehensive review delivers vital information on what is working, what needs improvement, and key customer and brand differentiation. Among its many benefits, a UX prototype review:
- Gives design and development teams a comprehensive picture of the market and the website
- Highlights problem areas and opportunities, and provides a market analysis from a UX web design perspective
- Helps inform the budget for development
- Improves time to market
The goal of a UX prototype review is to improve the customer experience and help the business perform better.
4. Follow WCAG principles and W3C best practices.
As mentioned earlier, it’s critical to make sure your UX web design process caters to best practices for web design and accessibility, including W3C’s Web Accessibility Initiative (WAI) coding practices for UX web design. Additionally, anyone who wants to use the web to share content must adhere to the four WCAG principles of accessibility, which state that content must be:
- Perceivable: All content and UX components must be easily perceivable by all users (i.e., “it can’t be invisible to all of their senses”). For example, include alt text for non-text content or subtitles and transcripts on videos.
- Operable: All users must be able to engage with and operate all navigation and interface components. For example, be sure to provide alternative navigation methods and other ways for people to interact with your website.
- Understandable: All information must be easily understood by all users. For example, make sure web pages and content are as predictable as possible by avoiding jargon.
- Robust: All content must be robust and readable by all users and be reliably interpretable by assistive technologies. For example, your website and content should evolve and remain accessible as assistive technologies evolve.
5. Include accessibility at every stage.
Accessibility shouldn’t exist in a silo. When building a website with accessible UX web design in mind, accessibility should be a qualifying factor for approval at every stage of the development process.
When building a website, you have a responsibility to design with accessibility as a core goal. Taking these five recommendations into consideration will help ensure you’re providing an accessible and high-quality user experience. Schedule a free consultation with a UX expert now to find out more about how UsableNet can help you tackle your next web design project.