The world of digital web design is a complex and ever moving one, with more options than ever before to help companies bring new and unique user experiences to customers. But with all these changes are we leaving people behind? The simple answer to this question is yes.
What is web accessibility?
W3.org has this to say about Web Accessibility:
“Web accessibility means that websites, tools, and technologies are designed and developed so that people with disabilities can use them. More specifically, people can:
- perceive, understand, navigate, and interact with the Web
- contribute to the Web
Web accessibility encompasses all disabilities that affect access to the Web, including:
What is the issue
Recent research shows that four out of ten local council homepages failed basic tests for accessibility. A quick search of big brand websites Next, Superdry and Sainsburys reveal no clear and obvious way to change the website if the options presented to you are not easy for you to navigate.
In the UK one in five people have a disability and that means that as many as 20% of customers may have some issues navigating your website. Now obviously these are very loose figures because not every disability will affect your ability to navigate websites, and some conditions may help. However, if you add this to the number of people with poor vision, mental health issues and learning difficulties then you can see clearly (apologies for the pun) that this is a huge portion of the population that is not being represented.
What is the solution
There are many fantastic companies out there that are moving this forward. However, the one I’d like to talk to you about today is our client and Web Accessibility Partner Kreative Inc Agency. Kreative Inc are a web agency with a mission, they not only develop websites that are accessible from the start, but they also provide website audits for companies looking to improve their own websites. I’m delighted to be working with both Caren and Callum, a two-person team who have taken on the huge task to make the UK web accessible by only 2025. At first I thought this was a ridiculous task because there are only two of them and it’s such a huge job they have taken on. However, knowing them both, seeing their tenacity, their passion, and their commitment, I’m now positive that they will reach this goal. If you’re interested in web accessibility, I highly recommend that you give them a call, or ask me to introduce you. It will be worth your time.
The SEO industry is focusing more on this
It’s not just Kreative that are focusing on this. More importantly the SEO industry is focusing on web accessibility more and more, which is detailed in this Whiteboard Friday series on SEO and Accessibility by Moz:
How Kreative approach web accessibility
One of my favourite things about how Callum approaches web accessibility is by providing options. When you load the Kreative Inc home page, you are greeted with a lovely clean design, but also with this widget on the left, which allows you to change the contrast, the text size and even remove the images, giving you flexibility and allowing you to tailor the site specifically to your needs:
Change the font size:
Remove the images:
All this functionality is needed in web design. It’s quite frankly embarrassing that we’re not implementing these aspects as a standard. We don’t feel it’s acceptable to have no wheelchair access to a building (and rightly so) but are we putting the same level of thought into ensuring that the online world is also accessible for the most vulnerable of us? There is hope, in the form of a mother and son super team who are taking the internet by storm. Keep going Kreative Inc Agency, we will be there supporting you the entire way.