May 22, 2022, is Global Accessibility Awareness Day, and we took some time to learn more about inclusive digital design with curiosity and honor. Every user deserves a first-rate digital experience on the web.
One billion people around the globe - 15% of the world's population - can't access most of the internet's information or services. As marketers, we can do our part to connect with people from all walks of life by making digital media accessible through inclusive design. It is the right thing to do, but it's also the law. We put together some of the general WCAG21 standards to consider when planning your next web redesign or digital project*.
Standards for People Who Are Blind or Visually Impaired In a recent study, New Window U.S. researchers found that an estimated 7.3 million Americans have a vision disability, ranging from impaired vision to total blindness. That means that 2.3% of the U.S. population needs assistive technology to access the web entirely.
Visitors with vision impairments may use assistive technology such as screen readers to browse your site.
Alt Text: your images need to have alternative text (or alt text) or an image description. Adding these descriptions allows images to be read by screen readers for visitors with visual impairments.
Page Structure: screen readers also need a design that helps them differentiate the page's structure by tagging headings, heading definitions, and organized heading tags.
The main heading is the title of your page. Adding and defining the main header tells site visitors what the page is about.
The heading definition allows visitors to navigate your site by communicating your page content hierarchy with screen readers.
Removing duplicate tags ensures that the heading is clear for your visitors. Duplicate heading tags can occur when a line breaks in a heading, leading to not being able to be read correctly by screen readers.
Low Contrast Text: Another common accessibility standard for visitors who have vision impairments that is often missed stems from Low Contrast Text, mainly due to Color contrast. The required standards are:
Changing the text color and background color contrast to a ratio of 4.5:1 for standard text and 3:1 for large text.
Using a contrast ratio of at least 3:1 for graphics and user interface components (form input borders, placeholders, etc.).
And knowing Level AAA requires a higher contrast ratio of at least 7:1 for standard text and 4.5:1 for large text.
If you are in the process of launching your media online or going through a redesign, you can use the WEB AIM's Contrast Checker. It tests the color contrast by comparing the foreground and background colors and using the web or hex color codes.
Standards for People Deaf or Hard of Hearing
About 466 million people worldwide, and 15% of Americans have deafness, hearing loss, and are hard of hearing. You can provide an inclusive digital space by offering captions to video and text transcripts for audio content to ensure the website is keyboard-accessible in your media.
Sub-titles and Captions: For example, a person who is deaf or hard-of-hearing gets audio information from transcripts or captions. Keep your video content up to date with accurate subtitles and captions; this includes descriptions of non-spoken sounds like thunder, laughter, etc.
Video content summaries are just as crucial as sub-titles and captions. The description only needs to be an overview of the video's content for the hearing impaired to understand better.
Contact Information: Be sure to provide several ways that someone can contact you on your website and other networks other than your phone number. Offer other means of contact and communication like email, skype, live webchat, or online forms are easier ways for people who are deaf or hard of hearing to communicate.
Flexible Content: Your content should be flexible enough for users to access and let users enlarge content using screen magnifiers and render screen readers.
As you can see, these are a few of many WCAG21 standards that help web designers meet the needs of people who have disabilities. We recommend working with an accessibility consultant on your next web redesign.
* ADA laws and digital standards are complex and change frequently. While NEW Consulting makes every effort to meet or exceed accessibility standards, we are not experts, nor do we provide legal advice on accessibility on the web.