In the final part of our Accessibility Guidelines Series, we’ll see how Layout, Media and Visual Design Elements go a long way in improving the accessibility standards of your design.
It’s important that your layout design is Linear and consistent throughout. Try to curate content that can be presented in many different ways, for instance, a simpler layout but without compromising information or structure. Steer clear of jargon and idioms and ensure clarity in your writing.
This is beneficial for users who rely on screen readers, have low vision or are on the autistic spectrum. Keeping the content crisp and short helps users with dyslexia.
What also goes a long way in creating a Responsive Design, such as a mobile-first approach, depends on the initial design and the content's relevance.
This allows the content to expand/contract and respond to different screen sizes without losing information or functionality and without scrolling in two dimensions, which consequently helps users with low vision and physical or motor disabilities.
Alternate text for images
The text on this screen is read by screen reader users. Images that aren’t used to convey any content and are purely for aesthetic purposes should not be read out by the screen reader. Ensure that there is enough description provided for images for the screen reader.
This works for people who have difficulty interfacing with visual content. Assistive technology can be used to read text aloud, present it visually, or convert it to braille format. It helps people who have trouble understanding information in audio format since they can read the text presentation.
Adequate time to read and use the content
Letting the user pause, stop, or hide content that moves, blinks, scrolls, or automatically updates, such as a dynamically updating news ticker, chat messages, etc., helps people with certain reading disabilities, cognitive limitations, learning disabilities, or any physical disabilities often need more time to react, to type and to complete activities. It is also important to control overtime limits when an interpreter is needed.
Accessible audio or video elements
Ensure that you provide an alternative option for pre-recorded audio-only, such as text transcripts. Provide captions for pre-recorded audio content wherever necessary.
Deploying some kind of assistive technology that can read text alternatives aloud, present them visually, or convert them to braille aids people who are deaf or hard of hearing so that they may read the text presentation or interact with the auditory information through captions.
Line height or line spacing must be at least 1.5 times the font size you use. Spacing between paragraphs needs to be at least twice the font size. Letter spacing/tracking should be minimum of 0.12 times the font size, and Word spacing should be at least 0.16 times the font size. Your font sizes should not be smaller than 10 points.
This is mainly helpful for people who suffer from low vision and dyslexia. The increased space between lines, words, and letters helps to read the text better. Adequate white space between blocks of text can benefit people with cognitive disabilities to discern sections and call out boxes.
Use adequate colour contrast
The text should maintain a colour contrast ratio of at least 4.5:1 against its background. The contrast between icons and graphical objects should be at least 3:1 against adjacent colours.
Your Large-scale text should have a contrast ratio of at least 3:1. If your text is part of your logo or brand name, that is exempted from any minimum contrast requirements.
This greatly helps people with low vision levels who often have difficulty reading certain text or perceiving insufficient contrast graphics.
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