One of the challenges of good web design is making sure that as many people as possible can enjoy your site.
This doesn’t just mean that it can be viewed well on different browsers or devices (desktop, laptop, mobile.) It also means planning for web accessibility and making sure those with different disabilities can see and navigate well.
This can start by focusing on people who are blind who may have software that ‘reads’ a page out loud; people who are color blind and may not see every color; or people with limited eyesight who may need strong magnification.
Though some operating systems or monitor preferences may address some of these visual challenges, the web accessibility process should be a consideration in the overall page design, everything from including text boxes that tell what any pictures are of, to making sure color combinations can be seen even by people with common types of color-blindness.
Web accessibility goes beyond vision problems; some people may have coordination difficulties that can make it a challenge to use a mouse. So other options can be offered including keyboard commands and shortcuts, being responsive to other hardware like a pen or surface pad, devices that track eye movement; or issuing verbal commands for certain functions like opening windows or sending an email.
Though deaf or hard-of-hearing people may be able to read text just fine, they may not be able to hear music or videos, so captions are needed.
Although it’s certainly good service to make it easier for more people to enjoy their online experience, there are some legal obligations to make sure your pages and overall site complies with current web accessibility standards and guidelines.
This includes federal access laws through the Americans with Disabilities Act, as well as industry guidelines and requirements featuring W3C and WCAG online standards.
One of the important steps in the accessibility process is observation. Make sure you test your proposed design using people with certain disabilities or find software that can duplicate the experience, such as colorblindness.
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