Creating a user experience that is accessible to all users with varied abilities is a task that many companies are constantly facing. While most situations are based on cell phone operating systems and websites, anything that is computer based needs to be accessible by anyone who wishes to use it. Now, since websites have fallen under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) the government requires state and federal websites to be accessible to all users. One of the questions that many people ask is how to incorporate a complete usability into a design that’s already being used and popular. Luckily, there are several solutions that are here to help everyone.
A toolkit is a frontend framework for building websites that are accessible, usable, interoperable, mobile friendly, and multilingual. Made up of a collection of flexible and themeable templates and reusable components, designers can still have full creativity with their work all while still maintaining the usability for all. These tookits are perfect for designers to ensure that their site is accessible for anyone who wishes to do so.
Considering that about 20% of Americans have some kind of disability, the importance of this inclusion is more important than ever. State and federal along with other government agencies who have any sort of online presence, whether it be social media, information pages, or anything else, are required by law to make their information accessible. So, making sure that this information is accessible is something that has to be incorporated from the beginning of a new site build or in an update to the site to allow any and all users access.
Once you’ve realized that you may need to alter the way your content is presented to everyone, there are several things that need to be considered in an organizational manner. Organizing content so that it has a logical flow just makes sense for everyone. Using chapters, headings, and subheadings to organize content allows everyone to easily navigate your content and information. Headings are one of the main ways that people using screen readers navigate through content. In actuality, everyone can benefit from having content that’s clearly organized, but more importantly, it helps people with screen readers and other assistive technology. Other content like images, tables, links, and other multimedia content deserve their own attention and organizational practices to present them in the most accessible way possible. As visually unappealing and basic as it may be, the flow of chapter, heading, and subheading provide the easiest way for those using assistive technology to access the content that you’re publishing. Making it so that this technology can basically start at the top of the page and work its way down is the easiest and most effective.
Addressing the presentation and accessibility of your content should be as important as the content itself, especially if the content is published by a government agency or entity. Allowing users with varied levels of disability access to your content is not only required by law, but just ethically sound in general. Everyone deserves the opportunity to have access to any information that’s published on the web, but without the ability to use assistive technology to do so leaves several users out of luck. Fortunately, these toolkits give designers a bare bones framework to allow for an all inclusive online presence for your content to be displayed.