What is Digital Accessibility?

“The power of the Web is in its universality. Access by everyone regardless of disability is an essential aspect.” 

– Sir Timothy Berners-Lee, Creator of the World Wide Web

Accessibility is the hallmark of great design. The internet is a place where everyone has the potential to create digital content— be it a website for their business or a personal Instagram story— so it’s important that everyone has an equal opportunity to enjoy and experience each others’ information.

There are roughly 6.2 million Canadians living with a disability. To accommodate this, designers should consider the accessibility of their digital content, paying close attention to how their visual, audio, physical and cognitive elements may be perceived. With the rise in popularity of infographics and video sharing social media platforms like TikTok and Instagram Reels, there is an increased demand for brief and intelligible content.

How to Boost Your Accessibility

Here are three ways you can make your digital content more accessible today!

  1. Select high contrast colours – Choosing colours with a poor contrast level can make reading and interacting difficult and frustrating. There’s a reason why most published articles are written with black text and white backgrounds. For important information, choose high-contrast colours that will pop on your screen. You can use an online tool from WebAIM to determine if your colours have a high enough contrast.
  2. Provide a clear call to action – A more intuitive design equals a better user experience. When users navigate through your digital content, they should be met with familiar responses and an intuitive flow. Establishing clear and interactive notifications and design elements can help ensure that your call-to-actions are met and completed. With an intuitive design, users will have a pleasant experience and will be more likely to engage in the future.
  1. Add captions to your videos –  Did you know that 85% of people view Facebook videos with the sound OFF? This means that if you aren’t including captions, your viewers could be missing out on valuable information. This can be easily achieved by adding text boxes to your videos or by using auto-captioning apps like AutoCap. TikTok has introduced auto-captioning. Instagram is currently testing its captioning option.

There are many more ways to make your website or content more accessible and intuitive for your customers and clients. If you’re looking for an example of a website doing it well, check out our client’s website, Sensity. This project provided us with the opportunity to design and build a website requiring advanced accessibility. It includes features to increase text size, change colour contrasts, and meet WCAG 2.0 Level AA compliance. Learn more about our approach and Sensity brand experience here.

 

The purpose of digital accessibility is not to approach design from a general universal perspective, but to focus on the equity of your specific design elements to ensure and support a fair outcome for anyone encountering it. Remember that great design is the hallmark of inclusion!