A quick tip on designing accessible websites

by Maia Miller

There can be a lot to consider when designing an accessible website. After all, 1.1 million people in New Zealand identify as disabled, so creating experiences to suit their needs requires thoughtful consideration of your designs.

But don’t be overwhelmed! While the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) covers a total of 50 criteria to make a website compliant, there are some low-hanging fruit that are easy to implement right away.

One of our favourite quick tips: make your designs responsive!

Several WCAG criteria cover a user’s ability to zoom in, scroll or change the orientation of a screen. This is to help people with low vision, physical restrictions, dyslexia or other cognitive challenges. For example, being able to change the size of a page’s text (WCAG criteria 1.4.4) means that users with weak vision can magnify text to the point where they can see it.

Other criteria relevant to responsive design? 1.4.10 Reflow means there is no horizontal scroll introduced when a screen is zoomed in, something that is automatically achieved when we design mobile-first. 1.3.4 Orientation dictates that a web page shouldn’t be locked to a viewport (ie, portrait view only). This enables people who want or need to see something on a different screen size – like a landscape tablet – to do so without impairing their ability to use the site. Designing responsively can also tick off criteria 1.4.12 Text Spacing and 1.4.5 Images of Text.

So, go forth and build responsively – and accessibly!

Catalyst Accessibility Services can support you through your entire web accessibility journey. Click here for more information or to request a free consult.