May 21 is Global Accessibility Awareness Day.
To coincide with this event, we teamed up with the lovely folks from A11y Bytes to create a whiteboard animation about accessibility.
It’s a short, fun, practical video targeted at the creators of digital experiences, and a reminder to all of us that users, able-bodied or otherwise, will always use our creations in ways we haven’t intended—and we can be prepared for that if we think with an accessibility mindset.
Check it out.
Here’s a transcript of the video:
Everyone is different. We live, work, play, and interact in our own individual ways. Many of our experiences are influenced by our senses and our situations.
In the online world, this means how we see, hear, move and think can vary greatly. That thing you just did on that app? Someone does that in a completely different way.
When you’re planning your next digital creation, think about your audience’s preferences and how varied those experiences may be. Don’t cut someone out just because you haven’t prepared for the way they might interact with your creation. And most of all, make it easy.
This is what being inclusive is about: making sure that EVERYONE gets to do what they want to, in a way that suits them.
Here are a few things to keep in mind.
Some people may have 20/20 vision. But some might find your app blurry, or may see colours a bit differently from you or I.
Some folks might need to bump up the text size a lot to read it.
And some people may not be able to see at all, and will listen to content read out aloud to them by a screen reader.
So, make sure you have enough contrast—let your text really pop.
Use a bigger font. Make it easy to see, and easy to change when needed, and
Code it correctly, so that it makes sense when a screenreader reads it aloud.
If you’re using sound, not everyone will hear it, and some will want to turn it off.
So make sure you’re providing an equivalent way to get the message across, like a transcript, captions, or sign language.
We move differently.
Some of us can easily use a mouse or swipe on a touchscreen. But not all people navigate in the same way. Some people use the keyboard to go through everything linearly on a page.
Others might use a head-stick, or an eye tracking machine to perform that same action.
Some will need more time to get things done. And for some people, it might hurt to move.
So make it easy to get around your creation. You should be able to use a keyboard as well as a mouse to perform any action.
Not everyone will understand things easily or in the same way. Every brain is wired differently, so some people process information faster or slower than others. Some people understand information better when they hear it, compared to when they see it. Others may find it difficult simply because your language is not their language.
And some people just might need more time to process information and act on it. Don’t rush them.
So write your content so that it’s simple and clear. Make it as obvious as you can.
As creators of digital experiences, our mission is to make sure our users can do what they need to do. We’re all different, and we should respect those differences in ourselves and in others.
So plan for their success. Be inclusive.
That thing you’re creating that you want them to use? Build it to help them be awesome. They’ll love you for it.