The word ‘accessibility’ gets used a lot, but it means different things to different people.
Often, the word is used to describe how we use something:
- When talking about the accessibility of a website, it is understood to mean someone that is blind is able to use it
- When talking about the accessibility of a building, it is understood to mean that someone in a wheelchair can enter and move around safely
Both of these examples demonstrate an understanding of accessibility, but an understanding that is too narrow.
A stronger understanding
Accessibility should mean that people can be independent – accomplish whatever it is they need to, without experiencing the frustration that comes from something that is poorly designed. Accessibility can only be measured in relation to an ability or scenario. It’s lack of awareness that results in something being inaccessible.
Access for all
Whenever we begin work on a project, whether it’s a website, mobile app or intranet, our goal is to build something that is as accessible as possible; excluding no one.
By exploring the different ways that people interact on digital; by following best practices and by testing continuously, we stand the best chance of achieving access for all.
Opening the toolkit
People use a variety of tools to aid impairments. This is also true online: browsers allow us to increase font size and mute colours to make text more legible; screen readers can convert text to audio to enable people who can’t see to hear content instead.
Too many experiences are built with what the designer believes is the ‘perfect’ user in mind, but abilities vary. We need to accommodate the range of tools that people use when using digital services.
The ideal characteristics
For a platform to be accessible, the user needs to be able to complete a task without encountering any barriers.
Information must be perceivable, understandable; pages should be operable and robust. If any one of these things fail then the user won’t be able to complete the task.
Making accessibility easy
Accessibility is a topic that requires specialist knowledge. For people coming to it for the first time it can be overwhelming – without guidance many people don’t know where to start. But the buzz around accessibility is growing, our goal is to help raise awareness and make accessibility easier to achieve.
We build accessible experiences for everyone, not just a select few.
We are Connect – a multi-award winning digital technology agency. We build innovative digital platforms that transform business.
Our clients include; DVLA, Serious Fraud Office, NHS, Cardiff University, HM Treasury, Charity Commission, Contact a Family, Hewlett Packard, Department of Health and Birmingham City Council.
For more information, or to discuss your requirements, contact Beth James on 0151 282 4321 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.