What are the most important inclusive design patterns?
Accessibility has made a long way from consideration and a sign of good tone to the fundamental human right and a legal requirement. In fact, the number of web accessibility lawsuits has seen an increase over the past few years.
Contrary to popular misconception, inclusivity and accessibility are not the same. Inclusivity is is a broader concept that includes accessibility from the standpoint of the product’s features and functionality. Understanding the nature of inclusive web design means offering higher-quality products suitable for a broader audience. So let’s dive into the topic!
What is inclusive web design?
Inclusive web design means understanding the needs of different user groups and creating UX according to them. Designers strive for full-scale accessibility for everybody, not just a familiar majority. They consider situational, temporary, and permanent factors that could limit the use of a product for certain groups. Needless to say, it entails avoiding race, age, gender bias, and similar.
Diversity, equity, and inclusion are the core principles of inclusive web design. It is essential to expand the message sent by the products and services to broader groups through various settings. It may require updating stock photos to ensure diversity, expanding content mix, offering multi-lingual support, and remaining alert to sensitive topics and trends.
Inclusive vs accessible design
Why is it important to differentiate between accessibility and inclusivity in web design? The answer lies in the underlying philosophy of both principles. While it is possible to ensure accessibility through the framework of inclusivity, accessibility alone cannot ensure broad inclusivity.
Accessibility and inclusivity address different factors. Accessibility is about permanent factors, such as physical disabilities. Inclusivity allows addressing situational and temporary factors, including language barriers, cultural background, or technical specifics of certain regions.
As you can see, limitations, constraints, and disabilities may be permanent, situational, or temporary. It is possible to outline five core groups of these limitations:
A visual disability may be the result of health issues from birth, which is an example of a permanent visual disability. At the same time, it may be temporary, such as a loss of vision following an accident. The visual impairment may be temporary, such as specific working or living conditions. Developers need to focus on all the forms of limitations within the scope of inclusive web design.
Web designers need to consider each type of situation given the respective conditions without making generalizations. For instance, making sure the video pauses when the user disconnects the earbuds is an example of inclusive design accounting for situational limitations.
Process of inclusive design: the checklist
Making a website from the standpoint of inclusivity and accessibility is always better than re-working the product made without these considerations. Following inclusive design principles during the development process is the best approach for ensuring the quality of the finished solution. These principles may seem intuitive and straightforward, but their structuring offers significant value.
Dividing content into smaller parts with headers goes a long way from the visibility standpoint. The contrast between content and its background plays a significant role in terms of accessibility. Limiting the content to approximately 80 characters per line with a line-height of 1.5 times the font size are also beneficial. Fully justified text limits the content accessibility.
Using correct markup
Heading tags on the development backend support content structure and enhance the functionality of search engines. Screen readers receive context, which is particularly important for visually-impaired users.
The keyboard may be the only way to navigate websites for users with impairments of motor skills or vision. The most common approach would be to support navigation on the website using only one key, such as the “Tab” key.
Designing usable focus states
Focus states reflect the ability to highlight the buttons on a website during the navigation when using a tab button or to hover a mouse over these buttons.
Providing alt text for images
Descriptive alternative text or alt text is vital when using web page readers. Describing an image may be highly useful for users with impairments.
Avoiding images with text
Text within images is usually difficult to read because of resizing and other web page properties. Avoiding such text benefits users with impairments.
Using descriptive labels with form fields
The fields requiring information input should have separate descriptive labels without the reliance on a gray text in the boxes that disappears when inputting the information.
Avoiding flashing UI animations
Flashing animations can trigger serious health conditions, such as epilepsy. Avoiding these animations is critical for inclusivity.
TRIARE offers a UX design that is tailored to the needs of customers and accounts for the inclusivity principles listed above. Hiring a team of experts to develop customized solutions allows for designing inclusive products and services aligning with the needs of the diverse user base.