How important is accessibility when working on your design elements?
In the design world, we’ve been around the block a few times and bought the t-shirt; in fact, we’ve designed a fair few of those too. If you’ve visited our blog before, you’ll know we offer our expertise for all our readers to take away to hopefully implement within their businesses.
If you’re new around here, get ready to learn about accessibility in design. How important it could be to your business, and how you could beat off the competition by keeping accessibility at the forefront of your thoughts.
What exactly is accessibility?
Finding a definition is probably the best place to start. However, if you head straight for the dictionary, prepare to be misled. ‘The quality of being able to be reached, used or entered.’ That is what you’ll get, and in most cases, obviously, that would be correct, but when it comes to design, that aligns more with the term usability.
Accessibility, on the other hand, is about your design work being usable by the most people possible. For example, your website design being suitable for those who struggle with vision, hearing, mobility or cognitive abilities.
So, is this something that has ever crossed your mind before? Well, if it has, you’re on the right page; if not, this blog may help you.
Why should you care about accessibility?
Well, because you should!
Let us be honest; when businesses are designing a product, website, packaging, whatever it may be, it was long seen as a burden to consider accessibility. Most people worry about how desirable the offering will be, how many people will want to buy it and so on, but very rarely how accessible it is to the masses.
Where profit is considered, the big entities are rarely thinking about the minority, especially when there are likely to be extra resources involved with an accessible design. However, it’s the brands that cater to all comers that stand out as they find that delicate balance between making money and being ethically sound.
As a design agency, we understand that usability will often be at the forefront of most jobs that come through our door. However, where we can, we like to push the boundaries and introduce our clients to accessibility to try and cover all possible user experiences.
Working with Create8
At Create8, we pride ourselves on being an innovative team of straight-talking marketers and designers on the cutting edge. We aim to provide our expertise so that we can connect the dots and allow your business to flourish as a result.
We build special projects for incredible businesses with thought-provoking creation and gutsy imaginative design at the core of everything we do. However, you don’t have to take our word for it, head over to our website and take a look at some of our most recent projects.
Let us know what you think and if anything catches your eye. We can’t wait to hear from you.
The beauty and constraints of colour
First, we thought we would talk a little bit about colour. Seen as we live in an increasingly aesthetically focused age, we understand that everything must align and that specific colours seem to be ageless as they simply won’t go away. However, our problem isn’t with the colour itself; trust us when we say we aren’t telling you to design anything in greyscale. It’s about how you use the colour that creates the problem for those who are visually impaired.
Use colours to complement the information
Don’t use colours as the only means of portraying information; use them to complement what is visible to all. For example, if you highlight all the errors that appear in your contact sheet in red, some people may struggle to see which text is in red and which isn’t. If you insert a simple warning sign to the form, the errors become evident to everyone regardless of colour.
Ensure a contrast between text and background
Another key problem faced by those with visual difficulties is identifying text from the background. One of the most common occurrences of this problem is when a designer puts level text on a white background. The colour clash can make the text unreadable for those struggling to differentiate between colours. If you are unsure about the best colour palettes to use, many great online tools will offer help and advice. Why not check them out?
When it comes to contrast in design, you should also be concerned with the size ratio of your font size compared to the background it’s placed on. According to the WCAG, the minimum ratio should be 4.5-1; however, if your font is size 19px bold or 24px or above, that drops to 3-1 in terms of text to the background.
Don’t make people hover
Hovering over something small can be a difficult task for those with mobility and motor-related issues. In fact, for some, it can be impossible. For those who use a speech recognition tool to surf the web, you’ll be making your website utterly defunct if it doesn’t have clickable actions.
Speech recognition tools allow those unable to type or scroll to enjoy the internet just like the rest of us, from pictures of dogs to ridiculous short-form trending videos. And why shouldn’t they have the fun too! Well, here’s the issue, speech recognition relies on commands like ‘click on about us button’. Whereas if your website requires the user to hover over “about us” to access a dropdown menu, it’s impossible.
Accessibility is not a challenge but not a barrier!
Understanding not just who you envision to be your dream clientele – you know the ones, disposable income, time on their hands to shop, trendy but not too trendy to look elsewhere. Even once you have some audience-related data, it is still a challenge to fine tune your target market.
However, opening up your target market should never be seen as a barrier, and it certainly shouldn’t hinder or hamper your design creativity.
You’ll know straight away if the design agency you have hired fully understands your project or not. Trust us; we’ve seen quite a few where the product, the packaging and the website have been put together by a designer aiming to impress other designers. As much as it may look fantastic, designers alone are unlikely to cover your bills and overheads.
Walk through your vision and also all of those who may fall into your audience. Think about the journey your product may take and how to strategically widen those who will want to purchase what you are offering.
For example, at the launch of the iPad, they would typically be found propped up in front of an Apple Mac in design studios across the globe. Now, think about where you last saw one…Was it in the hands of a child constantly scrolling through Youtube videos of people playing computer games rather than playing the games themselves? Or was it at your grandparents who now use Facebook to contact loved ones they’ve not seen in a decade? Either way, the point is, keep your mind open, and your audience will build itself.
Find yourself a design agency that understands the pitfalls of inaccessible design, and you’ll go far, potentially further than you imagined. Cater for those who enjoy a brilliant experience and let your product or service do the talking.
Accessible design and Create8
When it comes to building design projects across the board, we have plenty of experience and have helped businesses in various sectors optimise their success.
Understanding what type of agency your business needs will be essential for you to guarantee that your design work ticks all of the boxes. Especially when it comes to accessibility, as most will ignore the difficulties of a section of the population to design without any constraints.
Well, it’s simple, really, step away from the technological reliance we seem to be snared by and have a good old-fashioned conversation. At Create8 HQ, we pride ourselves on integrity and honesty, as well as the mind-blowing design work, of course!
If you want us to walk through how we could help you and all of the ways we can work global accessibility into your product or service, follow the link below. It would be rude not to have a little look around our website, of course, and check out some of our most recent work. We can’t wait to hear from you.
Let’s make your journey accessible to everyone.
Take a look at some more of our blogs for helpful tips, tricks and advice: