Whether it’s a smart speaker’s ability to understand voice commands or the visual layout for a mobile app, the importance of user experience (UX) in the development of accessible design cannot be overstated. UX research plays a crucial role in ensuring that everyone, regardless of their age and capabilities, can access and use your products and services. By testing for accessibility, companies ensure that products and services are not only usable by everyone but that they are intuitive and enjoyable to use.
Designing for accessibility is an essential aspect of creating usable products and services. From our team’s extensive work conducting research for accessibility and inclusive design, we’ve gleaned some key insights into how to design for accessibility.
Make accessibility a priority: Prioritise accessibility from the beginning of the design process, rather than as an afterthought. This ensures that accessibility is integrated into the design from the outset, which can reduce the burden on your development team: they can incorporate accessibility features from the start rather than having to reverse-engineer them into a more finalised design.
Test your designs: UX research helps you gain insights into the needs, preferences, and challenges of your users. By using a variety of research approaches including user interviews, surveys, and usability testing with people of different ages and abilities, you can identify their barriers to using your product, allowing you to iterate and design solutions that meet their needs.
Follow accessibility guidelines: Follow established accessibility guidelines, such as the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG). These guidelines provide specific recommendations for designing accessible products and services. Note that it is important to consider the guidelines in the context of your product and service to ensure they are optimised accordingly.
Use clear and simple language: Use clear and simple language to ensure that your content is easily understood by everyone, including those with cognitive disabilities.
Provide keyboard shortcuts: Some people with limited mobility have a hard time using a mouse or trackpad, so provide keyboard shortcuts. This enables users to navigate your products and services more easily and quickly.
Incorporate assistive technology: Incorporate features such as high-contrast modes, screen reader support, or alternative text descriptions for images. These features help users who are blind or low vision access content more easily.
Designing accessible products ensures that everyone can access and use them, regardless of their abilities. This allows people with disabilities to participate more fully in society and have equal access to information, products, and services. It will also result in products that are easier to use and navigate for all users. With the European Accessibility Act (EAA) Law, businesses will also be required to comply with the European Accessibility Act by the year 2025. It is vital for manufacturers to leverage user experience (UX) research to both evaluate accessibility issues in existing products and identify necessary developments for future iterations as the EAA law comes into effect.
Want to evaluate your digital health product’s accessibility but not sure where to begin? Bold Insight’s Check UX: Accessibility service focuses on how digital health interfaces align with best practices, taking the WCAG and EAA recommendations into account. This evaluation of the user interface identifies areas that your company can improve on to ensure increased benefit to your customer base while normalising accessible design. Reach out to learn more.