By Emily Hammer
Recommendations and guidelines are good for what they do: demanding a bare minimum. But rarely are they able to keep up with the fast-evolving digital spaces that we interact in, for which there is no precedent of “accommodations.” In response, we must be more generous with our standards for accessibility, going above and beyond what may be expected and desired of us. You should design your digital spaces with accessibility in mind – not as an afterthought.
You’ve probably heard of an ‘image description’ (or ‘alt text’). These provide descriptions for screen-readers and other assistive technologies to read aloud to their user and must be included for images on your website.
Similarly, ‘video descriptions’ that detail its visual content should be included for videos on your website for assistive technologies to read. Accessible videos will include captions and a transcript, but also feature contrasting colors and refrain from flashing content. When possible, avoid playing videos automatically on your website – this will interfere with screen readers and confuse users.
Add image and video descriptions across your website – and ensure the user experience across your site is consistent. Users should not lose out on content or context because they are disabled or require assistive technologies. This can mean changing the colors of your website to be more contrasting for easier digestion or choosing a different font which is more friendly to dyslexic readers.
Technological accessibility extends beyond providing accommodations for your digital spaces. For example, consider adding a livestream option to physical events. This opens up your viewership to people who wouldn’t ordinarily be able to make it to your event due to disability or distance. Additionally, use technology to make your physical spaces more accessible, such as using adjustable-height desks and counters for direct customer interactions.
Implementing digital accessibility and disability inclusion can make a difference in your workplace – and your world. It’s good for your business, too; organizations that focus on accessibility can reach a whole new market. Choose to be proactive. Accessibility is everyone’s right, no matter the business or its size.
Listen to this in a 3 minute video below.