Accessibility in UX: Best Practices and Key Principles

Vladislav Gavriluk

Vladislav Gavriluk

CEO & Founder at Arounda

Every digital product owner should aim for user-centric design. Why? This way, you pay attention to your customers’ needs and make the interaction with your software effortless and smooth.

Delivering a user-centered design may be challenging, as it’s more than just an attractive UI. UX accessibility is what’s even more crucial in this regard. It gives all users equal means when using your product.

Today, over a billion people worldwide experience one or another disability or impairment. It’s about 15% of the entire world population. These people, like everyone else, use the Internet and various digital products. Accessible design, in turn, helps smooth out issues that may arise when interacting with software.

Arounda has been engaged in human-centric design for over five years. Thus, we can tell a lot about inclusivity in this area. Based on our deep experience, we’ll share the main principles and tips for user experience design accessibility. By using these insights in your product, you will gain the favor of your audience.

What Is Accessibility in UX?

Accessibility in design entails creating software that people with different abilities can easily use. It is nothing more than the inclusivity of your product design. It expands the reach of users by satisfying their various needs.

Accessibility is mainly associated with people with disabilities or impairments. These can be permanent or temporary physical disabilities, sensory, intellectual impairments, or mental illnesses that make interaction with your product challenging. The application of accessibility standards in design significantly facilitates this interaction.

Accessibility UX examples include other user groups as well. These may be aged people or ethnic groups who may not understand your product. Thus, accessibility is all about making your design comfortable for everyone.

The Difference Between Accessibility and Usability

Accessibility is often confused with usability. These concepts are sometimes even considered the same. And we understand why: they both aim to provide convenient digital product use.

Yet, to consider a design accessible, it is necessary to follow much more guidelines and standards than when making it usable.

Usability involves creating practical, interactive, and responsive designs. As a result, you get a product that satisfies the audience without special needs. Accessibility, in turn, considers these particular needs, guaranteeing a fair user experience for everyone.

UX accessibility standards provide users the same priority, regardless of their disabilities or abilities. For example, people may be differently tech-savvy, but this should not affect their overall experience of interacting with a digital product.

What Is the Importance of Accessibility in Product Design?

Unfortunately, many digital products continue to neglect accessibility guidelines. As a result, it causes issues for those with special needs. It also reduces the audience of such software owners.

It is challenging to imagine truly user-centric design without UX accessibility. Designers should genuinely try to understand their user’s needs. As a result, this approach will benefit the business owners. In particular, the main advantages are:

Increased Reputation

Companies that offer user-centric products with accessible user interface design can significantly improve their reputation in the market. Those who show high social responsibility get more satisfied customers.

Larger Audience Coverage

Digital product owners with accessible UI/UX can reach a larger audience. It sets your software apart from others not governed by accessibility guidelines. As a result, you get new customers and show them their rights matter.

Legal Compliance

There are specific laws that regulate software accessibility. Companies that do not comply with these legal rules often suffer from lawsuits as they ignore users’ needs. By making your design accessible, you avoid such unfavorable engagement.

Accessibility UX Design Principles

The most important rule you should apply when creating accessible design is prioritizing each user. Let’s talk about how exactly you can do it in more detail.

But first, here’s a quick UX accessibility checklist:

  • Empathy

  • Inclusivity

  • User research

  • Navigation control

  • Context

Let’s talk about each of these principles separately.

Empathy

Empathy is a principle that applies to the entire design process. You must understand the user well when creating a user-friendly interface and thinking about their journey through your product.

If we talk about accessibility, then empathy is crucial here. A deep understanding of your users’ needs, studying the typical problems they face when using the software, and all this from their perspective makes it possible to create a convenient and accessible digital product.

Inclusivity

Inclusivity is another principle that allows you to make your UX accessible. When your designers study your target audience, you should research the needs of all user groups equally. Even better is when users with different abilities test your prototypes.

User Research

User research is not only a necessary process when creating a digital product but also an opportunity to implement accessibility. Here, designers must explore a variety of users with different physical and cognitive abilities. Analyzing this research will allow you to apply the insights gained in design.

Navigation Control

Navigation control is vital for web accessibility. Here, designers should consider several navigation options for users with different capabilities. Then a person can choose the option that is the most accessible.

Context

A mandatory principle of accessible design is the context in which the digital product is used. Designers have to think through different situations and circumstances, so there are no problems using the software. For example, the product should be equally comfortable when the person uses it on the go, sitting, or even driving.

How to Make Design Accessible for Users

There are many methods to make your product design accessible. We will share the most important accessibility design guidelines with you:

Make Color Contrast Sufficient

One of the typical mistakes in accessibility design is insufficient contrast between the background and the color of the text. It causes significant problems for users with visual impairments. Therefore, be sure to use enough contrast between colors.

Create User Personas

User personas are individual representative groups of users. Using this method, you can create personas with disabilities or impairments, significantly increasing the accessibility of your product.

Use Focus Indicators

Focus indicators are contours highlighting individual design elements on which the cursor or the keyboard focus. You can use such indicators for buttons, links, text fields, etc. It helps users navigate the app or website.

Don’t Rely Solely on Color

Don’t use color as the only way to highlight information in your digital product. It won’t make interacting with your product easier for visually impaired or colorblind people.

Use other design elements, such as bold, underlining, italic fonts, or icons to highlight the info in your software.

Add Alternative Text to Pictures

People with visual impairments, or those who are uncomfortable viewing information in your product, can use screen readers. Then all the images on your platform will have no meaning to them. Therefore, make sure to add alt text to your images that describe what is in the picture.

Consider Accessible Fonts

Use easy-to-read fonts in your digital product. This way, the information in your product will be easy for any user to understand. It is better not to use decorative fonts at all or to minimize the amount of their use.

Provide Subtitles and Transcription

If your digital product contains audio or video content, adding subtitles or transcription is a good idea. Then people with hearing impairments or simply those who cannot listen to the content will be able to view the information in text form. In addition, you can make subtitles and transcriptions in different languages, thus reaching users from different countries.

Add Keyboard Navigation

Keyboard navigation will also be important in terms of accessibility. It will make using your product easier for people with mobility or vision impairments. Make sure the navigation is intuitive.

Make Your Design Consistent

Another tip for achieving UX accessibility is consistent design. All elements, pages, and displays on different devices should provide the same user experience. It will help your customers get used to your product quickly.

Final Thoughts

UX accessibility is integral to your product if you aim to provide equal opportunities for all users. The accessible design considers each customer’s needs and offers a convenient user experience.

For businesses, accessibility in design means more satisfied customers and an increase in the company’s overall reputation. Adherence to UX accessibility standards also mitigates the risks associated with legal requirements for software inclusivity.

If you want to make a digital product with an accessible design, then you are in the right place. Arounda uses a human-centered approach to software creation. We already have more than 30 projects that offer accessible and user-friendly designs. Want your product to look the same? Then contact our dedicated experts.

Vladislav Gavriluk
Vladislav Gavriluk
CEO & Founder at Arounda
I make sure our clients get the high-quality result from the beginning stage of the idea discovery & strategy to the final digital product.

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