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Starting with Accessibility in Mind

Building Inclusive Web Experiences

5 minute read

This is the second in a series of articles looking into the requirements, tools, and techniques surrounding accessible web design.

In the journey of creating accessible web design, it’s crucial to start with a foundation that prioritizes accessibility from the outset. This second article in our series dives into how you can embed an accessibility-first mindset in your web projects from the beginning.

Embracing an Accessibility-First Approach

Understanding the Basics

Before we start designing or coding, it’s essential to understand the various disabilities that can affect web usage:

Educating Your Team Accessibility is a team effort. Ensure your designers, developers, and content creators understand these principles and consider them in their work.

Setting Up for Success

As we delve into building websites with an accessibility-first approach, it’s essential to arm ourselves with the right tools and resources. These tools not only facilitate the creation of accessible content but also streamline the process, making it easier to adhere to best practices from the start.

Accessible Tools and Resources

Creating an Accessibility Checklist

A well-structured accessibility checklist is essential for ensuring your website meets various accessibility standards. Here’s an example checklist that covers key areas:

Visual Design

Auditory Content

Interactive Elements

Screen Reader Compatibility

Cognitive Accessibility

Testing and Validation

Building an Accessibility Team

Roles and Responsibilities

Small Teams

In smaller teams, where resources might be limited, roles can be more fluid, with team members often wearing multiple hats.

Medium Teams

Medium-sized teams might have more specialized roles while still maintaining collaborative cross-functional responsibilities.

Large Teams

In larger organizations, there is often the capacity for a more comprehensive accessibility team with specialized roles.

Involving People with Disabilities

Engage people with disabilities in your design and testing processes for firsthand insights into potential barriers.

Practical Steps to Incorporate Accessibility

Design Phase

Consider elements like color contrast, font size, and button sizes. Use tools to simulate different types of visual impairments.

Development Phase

Focus on semantic HTML, proper ARIA roles usage, and keyboard accessibility.

Content Creation

Use clear language, provide alt text for images, and ensure videos have captions.

Embracing Inclusivity

Starting with an accessibility-first approach isn’t just about compliance; it’s about embracing inclusivity in user experience. This mindset is about creating an environment that welcomes and accommodates everyone.

Stay tuned for our next article, where we’ll delve into color and contrast, exploring how to balance visual accessibility with aesthetic appeal.

What are your thoughts? Join me in the conversation over on Threads , Bluesky Social , or Mastodon .

Originally published June 5, 2023
File under: ux  accessibility