How to make your brand’s design accessible to all
Designing a brand’s visual identity is an important process that can greatly impact its visibility and credibility. However, it is also crucial to ensure that your brand’s design is accessible to all, including those with disabilities. Universality is at the heart of accessible design, offering everyone equal access to data and user experiences regardless of their circumstances or surroundings. Even if we ignore the one-fifth of the world’s population that is disabled today, who wouldn’t want websites that are easy to read, intuitive to use, and well-organised?
The term “digital accessibility” describes how accessible online environments, including social media, intranets, websites, and applications, are to all potential users, irrespective of their ability or impairment. It involves taking into account the customer experiences of individuals with disabilities and evaluating their needs in order to optimise the online user experience for them.
Digital places that are accessible are those that persons with long-term or short-term disabilities may use without running into obstacles.
By incorporating accessibility best practices into your design, you can create an inclusive and user-friendly experience for all of your users. Here are a few points where you can make the most impact…
1. Optimise visual elements
Visual elements, such as colours, fonts, and icons, are essential elements of a brand’s design. However, they can be problematic for users with certain visual impairments. To ensure accessibility, consider these guidelines:
- Use clear, legible fonts that are easy to read. Avoid using decorative or script fonts that may be difficult for some users to read.
- Use color blind-friendly colours. Use a combination of colours that contrast between background and text, and avoid using colour as the only means of conveying important information.
- Use scalable vector graphics (SVGs) instead of raster images. SVGs are resolution-independent and can be easily enlarged or reduced without losing quality, making them more accessible for users with visual impairments.
- Avoid using flashing or animated elements, as these can trigger seizures for those with photosensitive epilepsy.
2. Optimise website navigation
Clear and intuitive website navigation is crucial for accessibility. Users should be able to easily navigate your website and find the information they need. Here are some considerations to make your website navigation more accessible:
- Use a logical and consistent navigation structure with a clear hierarchy of menu items.
- Provide descriptive labels and headings for menu items, as well as short and clear descriptions of each page.
- Use skip links or breadcrumb trails to allow users quick access to the main content and skip over repetitive navigation elements.
- Provide a sitemap or navigation menu to browse the entire website.
- Use keyboard navigation, such as tab and arrow keys, to allow users with accessibility devices to navigate the website.
3. Optimise website content
The content on your website should be clear and easy to understand for all users. Here are some best practices:
- Use plain language and avoid jargon or technical terms that may be unfamiliar to users with disabilities.
- Provide transcripts or captions for video and audio content, making them accessible to users who cannot hear the audio or see visuals.
- Use the ARIA (Accessible Rich Internet Applications) role attribute to provide added context to interactive elements, such as forms or buttons.
- Use headings and subheadings to organise content and create a clear structure.
- Provide alternative text descriptions for images, ensuring that users who cannot see the images can still understand the content.
4. Optimise website structure
The structure of your website should be easy to navigate and accessible to all users. Consider the following guidelines:
- Use a consistent layout throughout the website, with consistent spacing and formatting.
- Ensure that all links have a descriptive anchor text, allowing users to understand what they will lead to before clicking.
- Use appropriate tabindex values to prioritise and focus interactive elements, making it easier for users with accessibility devices to interact with the website.
- Use descriptive link text, instead of generic “click here” links.
5. Test and review
To ensure that your brand’s design is accessible to all, it is important to test it and regularly review it. Here are some ways to test your design:
- Use screen readers to listen to your website and identify accessibility issues.
- Conduct user testing with individuals with disabilities to identify any usability challenges.
- Review your website’s compliance with accessibility guidelines, such as WCAG 2.1 or Section 508.
- Regularly review and update your website’s design to stay up-to-date with accessibility standards and best practices.
By following these guidelines, you can create a brand that is not only visually appealing but also accessible to all users. Accessibility is not just a legal obligation but an opportunity to create an inclusive and user-friendly experience for all. The internet was created to let everyone, not just a wealthy few or those with resources, have free access to knowledge. It’s critical that, as designers and developers, we consider the users who sit behind the computer and make apps that are accessible to anyone, regardless of experience level or skill level.
As a business owner, you may be wondering, “Does accessibility benefit my business?” and the answer is simple… Yes, indeed, it does. Brand positioning that is inclusive, varied, and accessible will reach more people than one that is not. It helps business, and it makes your company stronger and more intelligent. Accessible goods and services have a higher chance of success. To remain competitive in the innovation space, businesses must give inclusive design, accessibility, and innovation serious consideration. This requires the recruitment and retention of a wide spectrum of talent, including talent that is impaired.
Maintaining accessibility requires ongoing work. It requires constant dedication. To make sure that your brand experience is still inclusive, you must do frequent audits and user testing. In order to make ongoing improvements, you should actively seek out and appreciate feedback from people with disabilities. Remember that accessible design thinking is a journey that encompasses all aspects of a brand’s guest experience, not just one concept. Brands can develop experiences that connect with a wider audience, encourage loyalty, and, most importantly, improve people’s lives by adopting this approach and continuously working towards inclusivity.