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Redefining industry standards for what is considered a “professionally designed” website is long overdue. It’s no longer sufficient to have a website that’s just aesthetically impressive or optimized for mobile users. A well-designed website should be a fully accessible website, too. 

Having good design practices means websites are easier to use for your visitors and customers. If your website isn’t easy to use for everyone, you are excluding millions of potential visitors.

By making your site accessible, you can increase your website traffic and set it apart from the more than 90% of websites that are inaccessible to people with disabilities. 

Creating a website that is one-hundred percent accessible isn’t easy, and seemingly minor issues can be a huge problem for someone with a disability, such as a visual impairment.

These minor design deficiencies can quickly become huge problems for the website host as well, considering that 217 million people globally have a moderate to severe vision impairment. There is some good news, however. Most changes are not actually difficult to remedy. 

This article will highlight some of the best practices when it comes to creating websites that are accessibility conscious. 

The Way They See It

Color impacts perception. We use color to make choices about things that we like or dislike, think or feel. When it comes to websites, color is a crucial choice for web designers, as colors are used to guide the user as they navigate and draw attention to certain features.

When it comes to digital accessibility, however, problems can quickly arise when color is used to signify information on its own or when text bodies are lost within a site’s color schemes.

Text orientation, size and color should be adjustable for users with disabilities. Patterns are an effective way to differentiate between blocks of color. 

Another design best-practice is to provide adequate color contrasts. People who have poor vision or who may be color blind could find it difficult to read text on a website that is improperly contrasted.

An easy solution to the color scheme problem is UserWay’s AI-Powered Accessibility Solution, which allows you to change the contrast and color scheme without altering your site. Users with low vision, or with color blindness, will have the ability to select an option that works best for them.

Alt-text on web images is another key feature for those who are visually impaired. Providing alt-text allows screen-readers to convert text into speech so those who cannot fully see your website can fully understand what is on your page.

Having the opportunity to zoom in to your website by 150% to 200% can alternately help people with low vision to read content on your site, allowing them to make sense of a website just like it was intended. 

Time To Focus 

Using a website properly can take a lot of focus and effort for someone who has a learning or cognitive disability. That’s why it’s a good design standard to help the user understand where they are on your website and what they’re doing, reading, or looking at.

Animated graphics and video should be available in formats that allow someone enough time to read and use features. The features should also be designed to behave and appear in predictable ways.

Content and navigation tools should also be easy to identify and select. Sentences and formatting should be simple and easy to read. There should be safeguards implemented into interaction fields that allow users to correct mistakes and review their answers.

Intelligent By Design  

Having accessibility features that allow people with disabilities to make sense of your website and navigate around it, are some of the best design standards possible for your website. A comprehensive checklist for these standards is available through Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG).

Not only does complying with these kinds of accessibility standards enhance user experience for millions, but it also removes you from civil liabilities you may face under the Americans with Disabilities Act. 

UserWay’s AI-Powered Accessibility Solution makes accessibility for those with visual and cognitive disabilities possible. By encoding years of expertise in digital accessibility into an online tool, UserWay allows your users to make sense of what they’re seeing, as well as navigate it without issue.