Accessibility: Usability for all | Interaction Design Foundation

Let’s examine a topic we often take for granted to understand what it’s really about. Doing so, you’ll be able to proceed with a broader appreciation of how users engage your designs.

A design is only useful if it’s accessible to the user: any user, anywhere, anytime. We often mistake the concept of accessibility as involving people with disabilities. However, we’re all disabled in many contexts and circumstances. Accessibility is all about people. If you’ve ever broken a leg, you’ll know how difficult formerly simple tasks become. How about a power outage? One moment, you’re going about your business; the next, you’re plunged into darkness. Moving a couple of steps becomes risky! Whatever task we’d taken for granted suddenly has us negotiating barriers.

In many countries, designing for accessibility isn’t just morally correct; it’s also a legal obligation. Throughout the EU, legislation to prevent discrimination against disabled people exists; failing to comply with these laws could cost a company dearly. Compliance is cheaper, but it pays big dividends, too.

The good news is that there are standards for accessibility, and these are easy to understand. Better still, if we consider them at the start of the design process, we’ll find them easy to implement. Accessibility is simply a function of access. People with a visual impairment, for example, may not be able to read the text on your website. However, if you have properly formatted your text, they’ll be able to use screen reading software to hear your words.

Designing for accessibility takes some forethought. Examine your options in the planning phase and stay focused on accessibility throughout development. It’s easy to get caught up in the substance of your work and forget about this essential point. Keep it in mind, and test your designs often to be certain that your efforts are successful.

Curated by (Lifekludger)
Read full article at Source: Accessibility: Usability for all | Interaction Design Foundation

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