There are many factors to consider when creating a website or application. One of the most important, but often overlooked, is accessibility. Making sure your site can be used by everyone, regardless of ability, is not only the right thing to do, but it can also improve your bottom line. In this blog post, we will explore five tips to improve visual treatments that improve accessibility. From using alt text to adding captions and more, following these tips can help make your site or app more accessible to all users.
Design for color contrast
Color contrast is one of the most important aspects of web design. It can be the difference between a user being able to read your content or not. Ensuring that there is a good contrast between the foreground and background colors is essential for accessibility.
There are a few things to keep in mind when designing for color contrast:
- Use a dark color for the text and a light color for the background. This will ensure that the text is easy to read.
- Make sure that there is sufficient contrast between the colors. You can use tools like Color Contrast Analyzer to check whether your colors have enough contrast.
- Avoid using similar colors for the text and background. This will make it more difficult for users to read the text.
- Use high-contrast colors if you want to make sure that your content is accessible to users with vision impairments.
Provide visual cues in addition to color
When designing visual treatments that improve accessibility, it is important to provide visual cues in addition to color. For example, when using color to indicate different states or statuses of an element on a screen, also consider using other visual cues such as position, size, or shape. This will help ensure that your design is accessible to as many people as possible.
Make interactive elements easy to identify
In order to make your content more accessible, it is important to make sure that all interactive elements are easy to identify. This includes links, buttons, form fields, and any other element that can be interacted with.
One way to do this is to use clear and concise labels for each element. For links, this means using descriptive link text that tells users where the link will take them. For form fields, this means using labels that clearly describe the purpose of the field.
Another way to make interactive elements easy to identify is to use distinctive styling for each element. This can include using a different color for links, adding a border around form fields, or using a different font size or weight for buttons.
Making sure that interactive elements are easy to identify will help all users navigate your content more easily, and it will also improve the overall accessibility of your site or application.
Use robust alternative text for images or graphics
Images and graphics are an important part of any website or document, but they can pose a challenge for users with visual impairments. Alternative text (also known as “alt text”) is a critical tool to help make your images and graphics more accessible.
Here are some tips for creating robust alternative text:
- Be concise and clear. Alternative text should be brief and to the point. It should explain what the image or graphic is without being overly long or detailed.
- Be specific. When describing an image, be as specific as possible. For example, rather than simply saying “picture of a dog,” describe what the dog looks like, such as “Golden Retriever puppy playing fetch.”
- Use keywords wisely. When choosing keywords to describe an image, be sure to select words that will be meaningful to users who are searching for information about the image. For example, if you have an image of a sunrise over a lake, using the keyword “sunrise” will likely be more effective than using the keyword “morning.”
- Avoid ambiguity. Make sure the alternative text you provide is not open to interpretation. For example, instead of writing “Two people talking,” describe what the people are doing or saying, such as “Man and woman shaking hands and smiling.”
- Test your alt text. As with any aspect of website accessibility, it’s important to test your alt text to ensure it is working as intended
Test with real users
Designing accessible visual treatments is an important part of creating digital products and services that are inclusive for all users. However, it can be difficult to know if your designs are truly accessible unless you test them with real users who have different disabilities.
There are a few ways to do this:
- Use an online accessibility testing tool like WAVE or Color Oracle to simulate how someone with a color vision deficiency might see your design.
- Share your design with friends or family members who have different disabilities and get their feedback on what works well and what could be improved.
- Work with a professional accessibility consultant who can help you test your design with real users and identify any areas that need improvement.