Web accessibility is not a design constraint

Three practical tips to advocate for web accessibility

This story is repurposed from my blog post published on labzero.com on 9/28/16.

“Accessibility is contagious. Once you learn a few basic concepts about making the web more accessible, there’s ‘no going back’ because good design principles go hand in hand with designing and developing a web-accessible site.” — Anna Gazdowicz

Tip #1: Learn how screen readers work

Marc Sutton, screen reader specialist, shows how blind people access the Internet and screen reader technologies with a keyboard, instead of a mouse.

Tip #2: Test your website for color contrast

Using the WebAIM color contrast checker, here are three sample color combinations and the resulting PASS or FAIL assessment.
Before: For those not suffering from any level of color vision deficiency, the cover photo for this blog post contains colors that fade from green in the top-left corner to red in the bottom-right.
After: Color blindness simulators, such as Coblis, show how a “red-blind” person would view this blog post’s cover photo, which features inaccessible bright green and red colors.

Tip #3: Ditch your mouse and see whether you can navigate your website by keyboard

“People often think of blind people who use a screen reader first, but accessibility is broader than that. Accessibility includes anyone who has trouble using a mouse. If a website works well using a keyboard, chances are it works pretty well in general from an accessibility standpoint.” — Anna Gazdowicz

An accessibility audit for this blog post

Accessibility is not a constraint

“There is a myth that, unless required by law or specific user type, accessibility is ‘not worth the effort’.” — Dean Baker

Additional resources

Product designer focused on UX/UI and user research (he/him) claytonhopkins.com

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