For web design Belfast accessibility for websites is a very important issue from a number of standpoints. Notwithstanding the legal requirements it also makes good business sense to consider the combined buying power of all potential users. In view of the fact that approximately 20% of the population has a disability there is the reasonable assumption that websites are failing to reach quite a proportion of potential customers. People with disabilities are only disabled when they meet obstacles or barriers that prevents them from performing a desired task. For example social participation is impaired in the event of inaccessibility to a bar or hotel complex through not having lift access to floors beyond ground level, or unreachable high shelving in a supermarket. There are many more practical instances of discriminatory inaccessibility for those with medical conditions and web design Belfast is very aware of the issues involved. Web designers, developers and copy writers can be accused of having responsibility for creating websites that actively bar many disabled customers from interacting with the services provided. This means effectively that it is in their gift to provide websites that welcome and encourage all users, without exception and by doing so increase traffic and business as well as improving the lives of people in the process. Website providers must be aware of the disabilities so they can plan new projects with that in mind. Web design Belfast can act positively in the knowledge that there are only four types of disability applicable to web access; visual, hearing, cognitive and motor. Certain adaptations can be made to web design that will overcome the medical difficulties associated with these four groupings. We will look at a few issues where strategies can be introduced to make a valuable contribution to each group. The visual aspect includes impairments such as glaucoma, myopia, colour blindness and albinism and these disabilities do not rely on visual stimuli, rather on size and contrast. There is also screen-reader software for the severely sight impaired where screen content is read out as audio. Web designers from web design Belfast can assist further by avoiding generic links like ‘more’ and ‘click here’ and ensure the link text defines the desired destination. This tactic will also promote SEO. Another feature to avoid is auto-playing audio/video as it conflicts with screen-reader’s speech, making the site unusable. Your alt tags descriptions should be concise but reflecting exactly what your images are. This is also a SEO promotion tactic. With hearing impairments the problem is not as obtuse as users generally find their way around websites quite well since they are in the main, a visual medium. Transcripts are very helpful, especially if captioning proves too expensive and they cater for the totally hearing impaired as well as the partially hearing impaired.
Medical conditions associated with motor skills such as cerebral palsy, parkinson’s and muscular dystrophy can make using a traditional mouse and keyboard difficult if not impossible. There are technologies available to assist in these circumstances involving button switches. Simple keyboard access is now possible through ‘out of the box’ browser technology. Tab enables movement between selectable things while enter is used to select them. For web design Belfast the easiest way to help people who have limited use of a mouse or touch-screen is to provide a standalone stationary form of the navigation. Finally, those users who have cognitive problems associated with medical conditions such as dyslexia, autism and Down’s syndrome, have to be helped to understand the content more easily. The solution to this problem is simplifying the information. Imitate the copy on Facebook and Blogger homepages by minimising the use of complicated language jargon or acronyms. This standard of information provision is good practice for writing for the web in general and helps all those with reading difficulty. A little known fact relating to this issue is that over one million adults have a reading age of below five years old. Simplifying the interface and providing a hierarchy of information topics can also be of assistance to the motor impaired. As movement is distracting, keep it to a minimum especially around areas such as sign up forms.
This has particular relevance to Aspergers and ADD victims where any distraction could interrupt interactive features.
Sudden unexpected change as produced by auto-playing video should also be avoided as this has negative effects on autistic users. Through learning more about medically impaired web users web design Belfast can improve web accessibility standards for all in the future.