Accessibility is the design of products, devices, services, or environments to be used by everyone. Accessibility laws exist to aid people with diverse abilities to navigate, understand and use your interface.
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Introduction to AccessibilityAccessibility refers to the design of products, devices, services, or environments that can be used by people with disabilities. It is not only a legal requirement but also a moral obligation to ensure that everyone has equal opportunities to access information and participate in society. Accessibility is not limited to physical barriers but also includes digital and communication barriers.
- A Primer to Web Accessibility for DesignersNicholas begins by defining accessibility and discussing why it is important. It then outlines some quick wins that designers can use to make their designs more inclusive, such as using semantic HTML, providing alternative text for images, and using Color contrast to ensure readability. The article also covers more advanced topics such as ARIA and keyboard navigation. Finally, the article provides a list of resources for further reading.
Designing for AccessibilityDesigning for accessibility requires a shift in mindset from designing for the average user to designing for all users. It involves incorporating accessibility features from the beginning of the Design Process and ensuring that the design is inclusive and usable for people with disabilities. Designers need to understand the needs and limitations of different disability types and use appropriate design techniques to create an accessible product.
- 7 Things Every Designer Needs to Know about AccessibilityJesse's has 7 tips covered include: 1. Accessibility is not a barrier to innovation: 2. Don't use Color as the only visual means of conveying information 3. Ensure sufficient contrast between text and its background. 4. Provide visual focus indication for keyboard focus. 5. Be careful with forms. 6. Avoid component identity crises. 7. Don’t make people hover to find things.
- Designing for Cognitive DifferencesInclusive design should consider users with cognitive differences like inattention, anxiety, and depression, not just physical disabilities. • Inattention can be caused by conditions like ADHD, bipolar disorder, depression, and anxiety. Motion and distractions on websites can make it difficult for these users to focus. • Unnecessary motion like GIFs and animations can distract users with inattention, even when they don't bother neurotypical users. • Forms can be difficult for users with inattention due to their length and complexity. Simplifying forms and adding options to save progress can help. • Anxiety causes users to fear they will do things wrong, so providing clear directions, reassurance, and wayfinding can reduce anxiety. • Forms for anxious users should have clear labels, submit buttons, and confirmation messages to reassure them. • Everything is harder for users with depression due to physical and mental effects. • Avoiding unnecessary user registrations, long forms, and large blocks of content can make things easier for depressed users. • Chat options can be lifesavers for users with depression or anxiety since they require less effort than phone calls or in-person interactions.
- How to Fail at Accessibility• Failure is normal and part of the learning process. Everyone fails at some point, and we learn and grow from it. • Accessibility testing is important to ensure websites are usable for all people, including those with disabilities. There are tools and techniques to test for accessibility issues. • When building for accessibility, use proper HTML and ARIA markup, manage focus programmatically, and leverage modern coding practices. • Improve your development process to catch accessibility issues early, including training all team members and implementing Design Systems. • Consider accessibility from the start of a project to make it easier and more effective.
- How to Describe Complex Designs for Users with Disabilities• Providing sufficient information about identity, operation and state of user interface elements is essential for accessibility. This helps assistive technologies. • Identity refers to what the user is interacting with. Operation refers to how the user uses it. State refers to its current status. • Native controls like form elements are the best option for accessibility as they identify themselves and their state. They are familiar to users. • For complex interactions, consider using native elements behind the scenes to provide identity, operation and state to assistive technologies. • Follow WAI-ARIA best practices for UI patterns not natively available in HTML. This helps provide proper accessibility. • If no native element or ARIA guideline exists, provide information using hidden text and live regions. But this should be a last resort. • Use aria-describedby to associate hidden text to provide identity. Update live regions to provide operation and state. • User Testing is needed when providing identity, operation and state on your own. • Providing identity, operation and state information helps make experiences accessible for all users, including those with disabilities.
Testing for AccessibilityTesting for accessibility involves evaluating the product against accessibility standards and guidelines. It includes both automated and manual testing methods to identify accessibility issues and ensure that the product meets the needs of people with disabilities. Testing should be conducted throughout the Design Process to catch and fix accessibility issues early on.
- How to test for accessibility with users at every design stageUser Testing with people using assistive technologies helped Katie improve Shopify Email by gaining first-hand feedback at every stage of the Design Process. • Katie initially noticed that adding a new section to an email template in Shopify Email was only possible using a mouse, limiting accessibility. Around 15% of Shopify merchants self-identify as having a vision disability. • Katie's solutions to improve accessibility included adding a permanently visible button to add sections and updating labeling and tab sequencing. • She provides a template for planning 4 stages of accessibility testing: informational interviews, design review, implementation validation, and compatibility testing.
Making the Case for AccessibilityMaking the case for accessibility involves highlighting the benefits of accessibility to stakeholders and decision-makers. It includes demonstrating the legal, ethical, and financial benefits of accessibility, such as increased customer satisfaction, improved user experience, and reduced legal risks. It is important to involve people with disabilities in the process to ensure that their needs are being met and to create a more inclusive society.
- Making the Case for Accessibility• Stories and personal experiences are more effective at building Empathy and understanding for accessibility than just statistics and data. Share real life examples of how people with disabilities use technology. • Universal design principles like the "curb cut effect" show that features that improve accessibility also benefit all users. Brainstorm how your product could be repurposed for accessibility use cases. • Making small, incremental changes towards accessibility can build momentum and a sense of progress within the team. Start with simple changes like adding captions and alt text. • Not designing for accessibility can lead to lost revenue and market opportunities. Government agencies may require accessibility compliance for contracts. • Aim for industry accessibility standards to stay ahead of potential legal issues. Courts are increasingly requiring companies to make their websites accessible. • Reserve funding and time in the product development schedule for accessibility research and features. • An accessible mindset needs to become embedded in the Company Culture through a holistic and relentless approach.