Making Apps and Websites Equitable with Accessibility Design

In recent years, more online marketers are paying attention to user experience (UX) design for a good reason. It is beneficial not only to users but also to the business.

The primary goal of UX design is to simplify the interaction between users and systems, creating an intuitive interface that makes it easy for customers to find what they are looking for on the website. This results in better customer satisfaction.

An excellent UX design follows certain principles, one of which is equity. It means these digital products should be both usable, useful, and convenient to use by as many people as possible. To achieve this, an excellent marketing and advertising agency has to go beyond responsive web and mobile design. It also has to know accessibility design.

What Is Accessibility Design?

Accessibility design is a field of UX that focuses on disabled people, including users who are blind or visually impaired, deaf or hearing-impaired, physically challenged, elderly, etc. It is mainly about making products usable for everyone.

According to World Bank, at least a billion people are disabled – around 15 percent of the global population. In the United States, nearly 50 million have some form of disability.

The concept of accessibility design has been around for many years and has undergone many changes. First, many web developers and designers try to make their apps or websites universal. However, the one-size-fits-all solution still excluded many subpopulations, especially those dealing with disabilities.

To resolve this, marketers implemented inclusive design. In this approach, UX designers focus on designing products that can be used by a wide range of people with different abilities. As a result, they benefit from the whole range of human diversity.

Today, marketers are taking it a step further with equity design. This means that the user interface benefits underrepresented demographics and those who are usually excluded or ignored.

Benefits of Accessibility Design

Accessibility design helps the marketing and advertising agencies in the following ways:

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1. It Captures an Underserved and Unserved Market – Disabled people are an important economic force. Studies show they have a discretionary spending power of over $170 billion. However, their market remains untapped or not fully maximized because business owners don’t know how to design apps and websites that can be useful for them or, worse, they are completely ignored.

2. It Increases Revenue and Decreases Expenses – For both agencies and users, accessibility design allows for better use of technology and doesn’t require unnecessary costs. The same design works for everyone, including those with no disabilities.

4. Accessibility Design Reduces Churn Rates – For marketers, the goal is to increase retention rates instead of driving new user acquisition as much as possible. Accessibility design helps them achieve this by adding extra value and convenience to online services that attract and retain customers.

5. It Improves Brands’ Image and Reputation – At the end of the day, accessibility design can improve brands’ image and reputation in the eyes of customers and society as a whole. A company that cares about people with disabilities is also seen as caring about its other customers.

Some Examples of Accessibility Design

1. Voice Assistants

Voice assistants are an example of products that benefit from accessibility design because everyone can use them. They allow users to perform multiple tasks hands-free, which is especially useful for those who can’t do it with other devices or services. It is changing the lives of thousands of blind people.

2. Screen Readers

Another example of accessibility design is screen readers for websites and apps. They help blind and visually impaired people access visual information on the internet, such as images and text.

How do screen readers work? They typically run in the background and read aloud what’s on the screen, providing auditory feedback. It has an accessibility API that helps users access web content. Users also have tools to control the reading speed, volume, etc.

3. Dark Mode

One of the simplest but effective examples of accessibility design is dark mode. It changes the design of the app or website to a darker color scheme, which is easier on the eyes and more comfortable for visually impaired people.

4. Closed Captions

Closed captions are another example of accessibility design for online services. They consist of text content that can be displayed as subtitles to accompany audio and video. This way, those with hearing disabilities can still understand them as long as they give the device a good signal.

5. Use of Universal Icons

Universal icons have a consistent meaning across different platforms and apps, so users can easily recognize them even if they don’t have the same app installed. Their design is approved by major associations and companies, such as Apple and Google. Examples include the dollar sign to denote money, a small credit card image representing payments, etc.

Accessibility design still has a long way to go, but it is a powerful way to tell the world that technology is for everyone.