The Importance of Accessibility First for Effective UX Design

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Web design has come a long way in recent years, making accessibility and inclusion a top priority in the offline world, impacting the more human side of software development. This means rethinking our approach to design and ensuring that steps in the process address accessibility issues. However, some tech companies are stuck in a previous era where product accessibility was not built in, leaving their websites inaccessible to all users, especially those with disabilities.

According to The Click-Away Pound Survey, 71% of website visitors with disabilities will leave a website if they cannot access it. Organizations can’t afford to be stuck in a situation where technology designers create apps that millions of users can’t access or effectively use. Even software companies that adopt an accessibility-first mindset overlook areas that could benefit their users. Technology is still lagging behind the inclusion revolution, and today’s technology designers must approach every project with an accessibility-first mindset to benefit all users.

What does accessibility really mean?

These days, normal design should be equivalent to accessible design. In other words, you should design your app with a user interface that is comfortable and easy to navigate for all users, and arrange your navigation system and content in a logical order. Usability is paramount to the experience and success of your app.

We all use accessibility features most of the time without realizing it. This might include switching to dark mode, zooming in or adjusting text size in your web browser, or dictating text to Siri. We have always benefited from the accessibility features of our devices.

Apps that don’t behave as expected frustrate the average user and cripple those who need accessible assistance. Failures can be permanent or temporary. It could be anything from simply having to wear glasses, to dyslexia, to breaking your arm and having to operate your computer differently for a few weeks. Even parents who hold their baby in one arm could benefit from a more accessible website.

Barriers to accessible technology design

Common roadblocks to accessible technical design are speed, cost, and some common front-end mistakes. Organizations looking to complete their projects as quickly and cheaply as possible may have overlooked accessibility from the beginning of their projects. Also, retrofitting accessibility features to already released software is not an effective option.

Some DevOps teams believe that designing accessible websites and apps is harder than it really is. However, many popular content management systems have accessibility built into HTML tags for drag-and-drop functionality. From there, organizations should consider adding their own colors of choice, alt text, etc. This can be done by anyone who wrote the software. If the budget allows, he can utilize a software program that assesses website accessibility while the website is being built.

Recommendations for making your website or app accessible

Designing for true accessibility first means incorporating accessible design elements into your app. The following considerations are important when designing for universal accessibility:

· Eradicate bias in technology design

It’s important that your mobile design and development teams conduct usability tests and talk to different users to get different perspectives. UX designers and software developers approach problems from the context of their own real-life experiences. Conducting UX research breaks down the assumptions, habits, and biases that teams may have unintentionally adopted, encouraging them to think about the “what ifs” and “what ifs” early in the design and development process.

· Ensure squeaky clean semantic markup

Proper adoption of user interface elements in web browsers is the most powerful way to make your app more accessible. Rather than afford a pure design phase and give you a rough idea of ​​the product requirements, the user interface (UI) is established during the HTML markup creation process. It’s important to make sure your markup is squeaky clean and that your app’s behavior matches the user’s expectations for the device it’s deployed to.

When your app or website doesn’t behave the way users expect, users will quickly get around it, so when designing and building your web app, use the native behavior, animations, and responses of mobile devices. Important to keep in mind.

· Swipe left on frustration

Apps built for the web by developers and deployed as mobile apps can frustrate users. This includes the fact that the user has to repeatedly pinch and zoom to see her interface and read its text, and that the form fields are half the width they want and that what the user types in Including the inability to see. Swipe gestures in mobile apps can trigger tricky behaviors that users might not expect.

· use colors appropriately

The use of color is essential in software design. The colors you use should have high contrast and not cause color contrast effects so that users can easily see and read the elements on your page. The contrast ratio between text and background color should be checked for readability. It’s also important to make sure that color isn’t the only way to convey certain information.

Understanding the problems of people with color blindness can help inform good design. For example, don’t rely on changing field borders to green or red to let users know if their input is correct or incorrect. Although color can be used to emphasize information, color should always be used in text, iconography, or other forms of communication to convey information clearly.

· Consider tricky touch zones

For mobile devices, it’s also important to consider touch zones. Touch- and tap-based interactions can be challenging when users have limited hand use or tremors or other issues that reduce fine motor control. It’s important to allow a margin of error around small touch targets, such as checkboxes, so that the user doesn’t have to tap exactly where they tap to trigger the interaction. You should also think about the placement of your UI elements and consider how easily a user can reach his UI elements. Considerations include impact of using the device with one or both hands, viewing in landscape or portrait mode, user hand size, mobility, and flexibility.

· Accessible design normalization

Every software company has its own standards. Progress’s Kendo UI team will not release a component out of beta until it meets all accessibility requirements. Teams like this are making a big difference in the accessibility of mobile design. Standards range from creating accessibility checklists to hiring accessibility designers, but having a clear stance on improving the accessibility of your designs is important to modern software development. Ensuring that your website and apps are built according to the best Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) gives your business a strong credential.

· Join our user community

The user community is changing their attitudes, such as becoming more aware of how certain characters and emoji are rendered by screen readers. Getting user feedback is a great way to innovate. Progress encourages users to send us a message through the feedback portal if they have any accessibility concerns or improvement ideas. Accessibility is never fully achieved. This is a team effort and can always be improved with more open dialogue.

Promote accessibility for all

Design accessibility is the current standard in UX design, and technical designers are starting to realize how important accessibility is. To create real change, she needs to understand her users’ needs and shift her mindset from accessibility-last to accessibility-first to achieve her best UX design.

With this shift change, the next era of web design should see an accessibility-first approach where development teams are more inclusive and continually strive to create spaces that are accessible to all.

(Photo by Joanna Kosinska on Unsplash)

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The Importance of Accessibility First for Effective UX Design 9

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tag: accessibility, design, software, ux


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