Accessible should be the new normal
Does accessibility only benefit people with disabilities?
Amputations, broken bones, physical strain; deafness, inflammation or tinnitus
Accessibility doesn’t just involve design. It also affects text. The wording of content can sometimes be so complicated that users aren’t able to fully understand it – either due to a lack of language skills, mental disabilities or situational circumstances. As a result, customers may not be able to order a product, or use it incorrectly, miss opportunities or even face legal consequences. Straightforward text content avoids misunderstandings and gives people access to relevant information.
Our role is to make digital products more inclusive. We want to break down barriers, not build them.
In large corporations, accessibility is already a key element of product development and included in corporate strategy. However, the concept and its relevance is yet to reach many smaller firms. While they may grasp that websites for hospitals and public institutions need to be accessible, they often fail to see the need for accessibility among technical SMEs or small businesses in the local area. While a product designed for people should work for everyone, plenty of applications and website are simply unusable for many people. This primarily concerns companies that aren’t global players. In other words, the majority. But why?
The following stumbling blocks often stop an inclusive product in its tracks during the initial project stages:
- Target group descriptions, personas, etc. that overlook health impairments
- he belief that the website will only be used by healthy, fully focused people with ideal life circumstances.
- The preconception that accessibility costs more during the development stage
- The belief that only people with health impairments benefit from accessibility
- Use cases that ignore scenarios involving restricted use
- Prioritising aesthetic and image above usability and user experience
Try to avoid these pitfalls and give accessibility a leading role in your projects from the word go. At the end of the day, every single user counts towards your success.
The key takeaway from this article probably also comes as the biggest shock: An accessible website always has better usability than a non-accessible website. Inclusive design is only ever an advantage. Being aware of accessibility can also help you boost your customer experience in general.
But first things first. Let’s quickly wrap up what we’ve covered above by taking a look at stumbling blocks, preconceptions and benefits to inclusion and accessibility:
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