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Famous architect Ronald L. Mace introduced the term’ universal design’ for describing designs that anyone can access, irrespective of their disability, age, status, or current situation. Over the years, universal design has also become a popular concept in the web designing industry. Many website designers now take help of universal design principles for making a site user-friendly.
Today, we will highlight few important rules of universal design. Thereafter, we will discuss few issues associated with universal web design.
- A website that incorporates universal design considers assistive technologies used by disabled people. These technologies can include screen readers and magnifiers.
- It pays attention to flexibility. For example, website of a particular company retains its aesthetic appeal even in different computer display sizes.
- It uses simple language, devoid of technical jargons. The site makes use of text, images, and graphs (as required).
- A user-friendly website offers various ways of accessing relevant information. For example, a site may incorporate an instructional video for conveying necessary information. To ensure that anyone can access the information, it should add captions to the video. This will allow people to read the information or hear it.
- It should reduce occurrence of errors. Still, if an error occurs, it should clearly mention how the user can continue.
- The site should be easy on the eyes. It should not include images or colors that hurt the eyes.
- Anyone should be able to access a site that aims to use universal design principles. The site should offer opportunities to people who want to access the content only via the keyboard.
Few issues that interfere with accessibility of a site
1. Poor Web Typography
Poor web typography consists of two main issues-low color contrast and small text. Both these issues hamper readability of a site, making it difficult for visitors to interpret its content.
Best way to deal this situation is to increase size of the text. 14 pixel can be a good size. To improve readability of your site, avoid using low color contrast. Rather, go for high color contrast.
2. Difficult to Observe Text Links
Many designers do not underline a hyperlinked text. Furthermore, they use a dark color for highlighting this text. The result is that visitors fail to distinguish the hyperlinked text.
Improve usability of your site by underlining the hyperlinked text. Additionally, use a color for the hyperlinked text that is different from its surrounding text.
3. Visual Chaos
Visual chaos is a common problem of many sites. By visual chaos, we mean scattered layouts, information overload, and absence of visual hierarchy. All these issues can hamper readability of a site. For best results, neatly arrange various sections of your site. Include information and images, only when they add some value to your site.
4. Denying Keyboard Access
Keyboard access allows a person to explore a screen and enjoy interaction with focusable items, by using the keyboard exclusively. Unfortunately, not every site provides users with this benefit.
However, if you are planning to develop a user-friendly site, offering keyboard access to all visitors is important.
5. Not offering Alternative Text for Pictures
If a picture offers relevant information, an alternative text should accompany it as well. To improve usability of a site, avoid automatically assuming that everyone can view the images. Blind people and those with low-band cannot observe images.
To improve usability of a site, you should make the content accessible for these persons as well. The easiest method to offer alternative text is by incorporating the content in alt attribute of the image element.
Opt for these tips to make your site accessible to anyone.
WebGuru India is a website design company based in India, offering high-quality and cost-effective website design and website development solutions to people worldwide. The company has authored several articles on web design, Flash design, logo design, graphic design, SEO services etc, providing updated information on technological developments and advancements.