The Web was ultimately designed to cater for everyone, everywhere and on any device, using any language and regardless of their ability. This means the Web must remove all barriers to communication and interaction that many physically impaired people face.
Inclusive design has never been more topical than today, especially with the latest landmark case won against Domino’s Pizza. It lost a court battle brought by a visually impaired man who was unable to customise his order or use discount codes.
The pizza chain must now take steps to ensure its mobile app is fully accessible to all. This is a clear warning to businesses that want to create high-quality websites and apps, to not exclude physically impaired people from using their products and services.
The Web is supposed to simplify people’s lives and technology can be invaluable for people with visual impairments. However, those with disabilities are often excluded; unable to use these platforms due to poor design practices.
Laws in various countries around the world including the US and the UK require that companies do not deny individuals with disabilities access to their goods and services unless the effort involved places them under an ‘undue burden’.
Bluegrass Digital CEO Nick Durrant says this clearly shows the importance in inclusive design and accessibility in building digital solutions. “Web accessibility means the ability for everyone, regardless of their condition, to have access to products and services via the Internet.”
Inclusive design is beneficial for both the business and its customers. It not only expands the product’s reach, but also helps the company with its social responsibility. Furthermore, the ability to be Web accessible to all customers is crucial to improving the overall customer experience.
“Making your website accessible to people with disabilities will mean it is also accessible to everyone else. More importantly, making websites and apps accessible to everyone will automatically increase the number of visitors and customers. Accessibility is the right thing to do – legally and morally – and it may even have a significant financial benefit,” he explains.
Web accessibility is the practice of removing barriers for people with disabilities on the web. Most commonly it refers to those who have temporary or permanent vision issues, people who cannot see the screen and rely on things like screen readers or larger text to access site content.
It also includes those who have motor or mobility issues, auditory barriers, and even visual or cognitive disabilities such as dyslexia or seizures. Inclusive design also means being aware of the barriers experienced by people who are colour blind, or who have a temporary disability like a broken hand, or who rely on English as a second language.
Inclusive design means focusing on contrast, button size, and limiting the use of idioms in web copy, among hundreds of other potential hurdles. This means that making the web usable takes much more than updating a site for those who can’t see graphics.
“It’s about being inclusive, making the web a better place for everyone. Businesses need to make it accessible not only for those who have a legal need, but also for those who have a temporary need, even for those who simply feel more comfortable with certain settings,” he concludes