Accessibility means that websites, tools, and technologies are designed and developed so that people with disabilities can use them.
More specifically, people can: perceive, understand, navigate, interact with, and contribute to the Web.
Accessibility is not a checklist and is not a feature. Accessibility is a part of User Experience, product design, development, and testing that is constantly iterating over time. Accessibility is a process.
Get started in understanding Accessibility by opening your app on a mobile device then:
- Turn on the screen reader (VoiceOver for iOS, TalkBack for Android).
- Familiarize yourself with navigating around using swipe gestures to empathize with your users.
- If you are building a web app then attempt to navigate by keyboard (tab to move to the next item).
When you "feel" a poor accessibility experience you will want to use this guide to improve it.
Why Worry About Accessibility?
The impact you can have by making your application accessible:
- 15% of the worlds population have a recognized disability (26% in the US).
- Civil Rights Legislation (Americans with Disabilities Act) prohibits discrimination against people with disabilities.
- Caring about accessibility demonstrates good ethics and morals, which improves your public image.
- Accessibility improves SEO, which makes your apps more findable.
- There were 4055 ADA (Americans Disabilities Act) related lawsuits in 2021.
- Practices that improve accessibility also make your site more usable by other groups, such as those on low network speeds or people that do not have the latest mobile devices.
Designing for Accessibility
Considering Accessibility during design allows you to make architectural choices that will improve accessibility. Making these choices upfront reduces the number of accessibility issues that need to be fixed afterwards and avoids accessibility issues that cannot be fixed without a costly redesign.
Accessibility should be part of:
- Requirements gathering and planning
- UX and content strategy