Many organizations view accessibility requirements grudgingly, as a costly way to avoid costlier lawsuits. Businesses and nonprofits with the best intentions can find themselves confused and overwhelmed as to where they should start.
Don’t follow the Domino’s model of fighting web accessibility in federal court. There are already standards in place that businesses can use.
The tech giant is tapping into its global army of users to make its Maps app more useful for people with disabilities.
The Social Media Accessibility Working Group was created to help government agencies meet their accessibility requirements when using social media. The Working Group, spearheaded by the Department of Labor’s Office of Disability Employment Policy has launched an online toolkit for improving the accessibility of social media used by government agencies. The toolkit curates and shares the best accessibility practices for social media, and it should be understood as a “living document” that will change according to feedback from users or as new technologies emerge. So far the toolkit provides guidance for how to improve accessibility when using Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. While the toolkit is geared towards government agencies, the tips that it outlines can help anyone hoping to make their social media posts more accessible to people with disabilities.
User experience (UX) design focuses on enhancing user satisfaction by improving how we interact with the websites, applications and devices in our lives. In other words, UX makes complex things easy to use.
While the term “UX” is relatively new, the concept of user-friendly design has been around for generations. “Good design is good business,” the second president of IBM, Thomas J. Watson, famously told Wharton students in 1973. “We are convinced,” he said, “that good design can materially help make a good product reach its full potential.”
Nielsen Norman Group (NNG) is a consulting and research firm, specializing in user experience and usability. NNG conducts research on design trends around the world, across industries, companies, and user types. They have a number of publications that provide simple design guidelines that anyone can follow to improve user experience and usability, including reports on user centered design methodology and reports for special audiences like senior citizens, children, teenagers, college students, and users with disabilities.
The report “Beyond ALT Text: Making the Web Easy to Use for Users With Disabilities” is offered for free on the NNG website.
An article in the Wall Street Journal explored the issue of web accessibility, accessibility lawsuits and the possibility that the U.S. Department of Justice will issue new web accessibility regulations later this year. The article talks about the 2008 Target settlement, which was the first to recognize that a website can be a place of public accommodation when affiliated with a brick and mortar facility.
Designer and illustrator Geri Coady authored an interesting piece about designing for people who are colorblind on the web design blog 24 Ways to Impress Your Friends. Coady provides background about colorblindness and explains how it can affect the usability of various visual media such as websites, graphs, maps, and even video games. Coady also explores design solutions that can provide color accessibility.
WHdb has put together a great list of ‘100 Killer Web Accessibility Resources: Blogs, Forums and Tutorials.’ The list is broken up into several categories, including resources for people who are color blind and hard of hearing, or those looking to expand their knowledge on how to create an accessible website.