OPC IT. Managed services and web development in Canberra.

Less obvious accessibility issues to consider

Date: 
25 August 2014
Authored by: 
Le Tong

Often we associate web accessibility with making sure that our website is accessible for people with a form of disability. In the extremes it can be someone who is totally blind, so they might be using a text-to-speech or Braille reader, or someone who is deaf so they might need captions on audio content. What about everyone else who has a less obvious disability?

Here are some to consider:

Disability/impairment

Issue

What to do

Epilepsy

Someone with epilepsy might have their seizures set off by flickering content like animated images and flickering video.

  • Avoid adding this type of content. This will also help the page to load faster.

Colour vision deficiencies

People with colour vision deficiencies (e.g. colour blindness) will not be able to differentiate content based on colour alone.

  • Use colour contrast tools to pick the right colours with sufficient contrast.

  • Use alternate visual indicators like icons, underlining, bolding and italics to format text.

  • Make link hover states obvious such as adding an underline when you hover your mouse over.

Low vision

People with poor vision will tend to use screen magnifiers, stare very close to the screen or pump up the size of the text.

  • Add text resize functions in your website so users can control the text size.

  • Test that your website will still function properly when text is resized.

Poor motor skills

People who are missing limbs or have poor motor skills might not be using a mouse to navigate content.

  • Make sure content can be navigated completely using only a keyboard.

  • Make menu links active when you hover anywhere on the menu rather than activated only when you hover over the text.

  • Make text links obvious with a background when you give it focus.

  • Associate labels with form fields.

Hearing deficiency

Have trouble understanding or keeping up with audio content.

  • Add captions or transcript so that people can read at their own pace.

 

How about if people don't actually have a major disability but get into a situation that renders them somewhat impeded in accessing a site? You can still benefit from catering to those situations, with the above techniques. For example, think about people in the following situations.

  • They may have forgotten to bring their glasses to work so if a website offered text resizing that would help them a great deal.

  • There is no mouse or touch pad with their laptop and they are totally relying on their keyboard to navigate around the website.

  • They don't know the language so if captions or transcripts were included they could get it translated and understand it in their own time.

When you address web accessibility issues it will benefit everyone.

Here is a great video from the Department of Social Services on Web Accessibility.