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Accessible Digital Design

What if you were unable to hear a video or read text? What if you couldn’t use a mouse or focus on a graphic? Many users have difficulty navigating and understanding websites and content because of the lack of accessible digital designs. However, the IASR WCAG 2.0 standard addresses this lack and aims at making all web content more accessible for users who are blind, have low vision, are deaf or have hearing loss, have learning disabilities, or have mobility impairments. WCAG 2.0 makes digital designs accessible for people with all disabilities by addressing several design elements, such as colour contrast, audio control, navigation, and readability.  While some digital designers may think that the standards limit their creative freedom, designers still have free range to make their work an accessible digital design for everyone to enjoy.

Accessible Digital Design Checklist

Below we have created a checklist to help make your accessible digital design easier. We list many items and some of them can be helpful for people from more than one disability group. However, it is still important to do your research to ensure that everyone can see, understand, navigate, and use your design.

Layouts

When designing your layouts, have you:

  • Organized the information with titles, subheadings, images, and videos?
  • Used simple, linear layouts that move in one direction?
  • Created linear layouts that can work on a computer, touchscreen, or mobile device?

Written content

When writing content, have you:

  • Written simple sentences?
  • Kept sentences short?
  • Provided clear information?
  • Avoided figures of speech?

Colour

When using colour on your designs, have you:

  • Kept your colours simple and avoided using bright and overbearing colours?
  • Used a combination of shapes, colour, and text to assist in navigation?
  • Avoided using colours to show meaning, such as green for go or red for stop?

Buttons

When creating buttons, have you:

  • Used descriptions such as “click here to read more” to make navigation easier?
  • Made large, clickable actions?

Keyboard functions

When incorporating keyboard functions in your designs, have you:

  • Implemented keyboard or speech function commands, such as the “tab” key?
  • Organized the functions in a linear format that screen reading software can interpret correctly?

Images

When using images, have you:

  • Ensured that all images reflect the supported text?
  • Provided detailed descriptions of images?

Video

When including videos in your design, have you:

  • Provided video transcripts?
  • Included subtitles?

Communication features

When adding communication features to your designs, have you:

  • Offered multiple ways to communicate on websites, such as a live webchat or face-to-face meetings when booking appointments online?

Online tests

When creating online tests, have you:

  • Provided lots of time to complete a task?
  • Given users the opportunity to review any information before submitting the information?
  • Provided clear instructions as to what will happen after a task is completed?
  • Ensured that the text is simple and uses clear language?

We provided some simple questions you can ask yourself to help you create accessible digital designs that will assist people with a variety of disabilities. Accessible digital design doesn’t mean you have to limit your creativity. Instead, think of it as a way to make your designs enjoyable for all users.