Designing for accessibility

Equality versus Equity shown in three pictures. The first is three different height people standing on the same size boxes to see over a fence to watch a baseball game. The caption explains that it is assumed they will all benefit from the same support and are treated equally. The second image shows the boxes adjusted to different heights so they are all tall enough to see over the fence. The text explains the different supports give them equal access to the game, treating them equitably. In the third image all three people are stood on the ground, but the fence has been removed. The text explains the cause of the inequity was addressed, and this removed the systemic barrier so they can all easily enjoy the game.

Some examples:

A business has just lost out on an experienced lawyer, 5 years qualified – who can’t use your website, because no one thought to make it compatible with the screen-reader she needs to use now that she’s losing her sight.

You can’t change the colour of your screen because it’s blocked by IT security. Company IT policy is set at global level and cannot be adapted for anyone locally, regardless of whether you are the janitor or a senior VP.

A £75 software you requested is not on the ‘approved’ procurement list, so the exception request is likely to take 6 months to resolve. In the meantime, you just have to ‘make do’

Data showing inequalities between disabled and non-disabled people in 2021. Top row: disabled = 25% degree, non disabled = 43%, disabled 13% No qualifications, non disabled 5%. lower employment rates: disabled men 54%  disabled women 54%. non disabled men 85%non disabled women 79%

Source: Census 2021 data

Describing pictures

An illustrated picture of two similar doors, on the left is a door with the word ‘push’ written above. The door features a flat square where the handle should be. On the right is a door under the word ‘Pull’. This door has a handle.

A picture of two doors, on the left is a door with the word 'push written above'. On the door is a flat square where the handle should be. On the right is a door under the word 'Pull'. This door has a handle.
Give it a go!

Colour choices

Download Colour contrast analyser to check colour suitability

A screen shot of colour contrast analyser. It displays that white hex #FFFFFF as a foreground colour, and Hex #7240A8 as a background colour passes the minimum contrast requirement. However it fails and Enhanced contrast requirement . It passes a Non-text contrast.

How do famous brands hold up?

Ways to instantly improve your brand’s digital accessibility

Your Guide to Brand Accessibility in the Digital Space
More from the source above

1. Factor it in from the outset

Digital inclusivity isn’t an extra step, or a box to tick, you should weave the needs and perspectives of people with disabilities into initial plans and objectives.

2. Create a style guide

This controls where somebody might use your content

3. Carry out a content audit

Where is your content accessible? Where could you improve? Think of what you might have missed. Change can start with small details like adding braille code to business cards, or putting some subtitles on an animation or video.

4. Be accessible for your users.

Be reachable, be engaged, welcome feedback. Who better to convey your user experience than your users. By listening to what they have to say, you can make brand improvements that earn their trust and buy-in.

Five brands that take inclusive experiences seriously

The variation in neurological and physical abilities within communities is vast, and becoming widely recognised. New design approaches that deliver a better, more accessible experience for all are driving innovations, such as:

  • Microsoft – these tech giants get it right. Their software incorporates an artificial intelligence that detects and to converts heading styles that are more suitable for visually impaired users. A new excel pane is designed to work with screen readers, a high contrast mode can be used when sharing content using PowerPoint live, as well as a dark mode in Word to reduce eye strain.
  • Google made finding wheelchair accessible locations as easy as typing in an address. Users can now turn on ‘Accessible Places’ feature which indicates wheelchair friendly places.
  • Apple launched a dedicated Applecare support team for people with disabilities and re-designed its accessibility site to make users aware of new capabilities.
  • Amazon’s new feature called Show and Tell helps blind and partially sighted people identify common household grocery items.
  • Pinterest has recently made efforts improve the universal usability its site, offering different levels of colour contrast to help those with visual impairments, as well as improving navigation and screen-reading support.


The importance of subtitles and transcripts

(Private link for Coventry students)

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