Accessibility has become an essential component of design in a digital world. With more than one billion people now living with a disability across the globe, having an accessible site design is crucial if you want to appeal to all internet users.
By using a number of accessibility testing and design tools, sites can quickly open up new browsing opportunities for those who are visually impaired, hard of hearing or who may struggle to take in long-form content.
Read on as we jump into the importance of accessibility testing in 2023, and introduce you to the web design essentials all businesses must remember when making their site open to all users in the new year.
The Importance of Web Accessibility
Prioritizing accessibility widens the pool of potential page consumers. The easier your site is to navigate, the more users it will be accessible to.
An accessible website could mean higher influxes of traffic, top-level SERP scores, and more inclusive brand perception and reputation. Your site is your first chance to make an impression on a potential consumer. If you take the time to create a landing page that is open to all browsers, you’ll be more likely to see those conversions rise.
Better still, you’d be one of the few sites pioneering a more accessible future of internet browsing. According to a 2022 report from WebAIM, 96% of Google’s top 1 million landing pages had detectable accessibility errors.
Leaving accessibility errors untreated can cause engagement rates to fall, a spike in poor customer service reviews, and even higher long-term developmental costs.
Let’s have a closer look at how your website should appear if it is designed with user experience and accessibility in mind.
Designing for Accessibility
Designing for accessibility has never been easier. The key here is to do your research first. Start learning about the conditions affecting certain users when opening a digital device. For example, those with visual impairments such as blindness may need larger text options or braille screen readers, while someone with dyslexia or ADHD might look for simplified content structures and a quick call to action.
Web design should always be adaptable to each and every user. Providing options to chop and change site features is a great way to make a homepage more inclusive. Take SEER, for example. This web design company offers browsers the chance to interact with an accessibility toolbar when landing on their homepage.
With the option to make text bigger, adapt keyboard controls and even select an ADHD-friendly profile, SEER is ahead of the game when it comes to accessible design.
For web designers just starting out, here are some key tips to remember when planning an accessible site structure:
- Creating an adaptive layout: The best way to remain inclusive to all is to put the consumer in charge. If you offer an adaptive layout, a user can customize a site to their individual accessibility needs.
- Introducing larger clickable buttons: For visually impaired users, it’s important to make your CTA buttons bold and easy to detect.
- Using ALT Text to describe images: For those who use screen readers and text-to-speech tools, providing descriptive ALT text for your images means all users can benefit from your site’s visual elements.
- Providing good colour contrasts: Colour is often overused in modern site design. Picking one to three contrasting colours can help visually impaired users scan text easily while also creating a less overwhelming sensory experience for users who struggle to focus.
There are a number of other accessibility markers to remember when designing a successful site. This is where accessibility evaluation tools come to save the day. If you have a fully functioning site, it might be time to start scanning your web page for any UX errors that could impact your engagement success.
Keep reading to learn some of the best accessibility tools for web design in 2023.
Accessibility Tools for Inclusive Web Design
There are many different types of accessibility tests a web designer can run to ensure their user experience is on point. From using tools such as SortSite to identify broken links to employing accessibility simulators such as aDesigner, which aims to simulate the site experience of a visually impaired user, the options are endless for business leaders looking to invest in a more inclusive future.
Here are four of our favourite web design tools for accessibility checking in 2023.
WAVE is one of the most well-known accessibility accessories a web designer can invest in. Developed by leading accessibility pioneers WebAIM, WAVE runs a series of tests on a website to determine what elements are not functional for users with additional needs.
“WAVE is a suite of evaluation tools that helps authors make their web content more accessible to individuals with disabilities,” said the creators at WebAIM. “WAVE can identify many accessibilities and Web Content Accessibility Guideline (WCAG) errors, but also facilitates human evaluation of web content. Our philosophy is to focus on issues that we know impact end users, facilitate human evaluation, and educate about web accessibility.”
Checking content formats against the WCAG guidelines, WAVE highlights potential errors using a red icon. Instructions to improve each error are also provided, making it easy for designers to tackle each issue quickly and effectively.
aDesigner is a simulator tool that designers can use to learn more about how a user with visual impairment would view their current site.
While we now have more info on restorative treatments such as Lasik eye surgery and visual aids, a whopping 15% of web users still struggle to access webpages that are not adaptive for visual impairments.
Using aDesigner and stepping into the shoes of a user with poor vision can help a web designer identify potential challenges and usability errors within their site structure and design before a web page goes live.
A site can be inaccessible to all users for a number of reasons. If links are broken, content contains spelling errors, or if a site isn’t optimized for mobile viewing, businesses can lose potential conversions in seconds.
SortSite aims to detect UX errors in one simple click. As a browser extension on a Windows or Mac system, SortSite scans content for poor readability, broken links and code, and usability errors such as poor device adaptability.
“Finding the Sort Site tool has saved my company countless man hours, not to mention the money that we would have wasted compiling site audits manually,” said Christopher Angus, CEO of Warlock Media.“Sort Site does what would take a week in a number of hours and then displays the errors and corrective action in an easy-to-understand report.”
Used by 30% of Fortune’s top 100 businesses, this handy tool can highlight fixable errors before a page goes live.
If you want to dive deep into accessibility, Funkify has your back. As a multi-disability simulator, web designers can use Funkify to simulate a number of user challenges in an online world. From vision impairments to Dyslexia and ADHD, Funkify generates a simulation that allows a web designer to see their site in someone else’s shoes.
With over 6.1 million people now diagnosed with ADHD, one of Funkify’s main goals is to encourage designers to create a website that accommodates users who struggle to focus.
Viewing a site with an ADHD simulator could encourage designers to introduce quicker CTAs and less overwhelming elements such as bright colours and animation.
An accessible future?
While we still have a long way to go, accessible web design is definitely becoming a topic of conversation in the marketing world.
As new devices, aids and ways of accessing the internet drop on the market every day, the future of web design is adaptability. Opening up a web page to users of all abilities is a step towards a more inclusive tomorrow.
Do you need help with your web design? Say no more! At TechWyse Internet Marketing, we specialize in top-quality website design services that will take your business to the top. We also offer a wide range of digital marketing services, including digital strategy, conversion rate optimization, search engine optimization, and more. To get started, call (416)-410-7090 or contact us here.