Accessibility is the successful access that people with disabilities have to content and spaces. As I mentioned at the end of Accommodation versus Inclusive Design, I concluded that accessibility is a mismatch between the design and a user’s needs. On the web (or with ICT – information and communication technology) we can create that match by starting with W3C’s web content accessibility guidelines (WCAG). The 4 principles of WCAG are:
- perceivable: broadening the sensory experiences to include sight, sound, and touch,
- operable: all interactive components and navigation are navigable and usable,
- understandable: content, component functionality, and design are easy to understand, and
- robust: content & functionality is compatible with a variety of browsers, devices, and assistive technologies.
Challenges on the web
I won’t go into further detail about all its success criteria just because I’ve written quite a bit about them while studying for the WAS exam. However, I do want to mention some common challenges that people face when on the web, and how accessible design can help designers and developers be aware of how to address these barriers.
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Universal design can help
Universal design creates products and environments that the vast majority of people can use, taking into account the natural physical diversity among people. Universal design doesn’t just think about people with disabilities, it thinks about a lot of people. By expanding our view from accessible design to universal design, we can make a more usable experience for a lot more people.
Stay tuned for my next post that will go further into universal design, its origins, and its solutions in the context of the physical world.