What is your approach to making websites and platforms accessible to all user groups, including users with visual, hearing, and motor disabilities?
Hi McKenna! There’s a lot to consider with accessibility, but one key concept is ensuring that content is separate from design. This allows the user to change how the content is displayed, based on their needs or preferences. For example, they can make the text larger, change the typeface, adjust the contrast, listen to the content with a screen reader, or navigate the site using only a keyboard.
This is why you would want to generally avoid putting text within an image file, since the user can’t change how that text is displayed. (Note: If using text in an image, we should always offer a text caption. And an alt tag!) Consistency is another important aspect of accessibility. Consistency is a powerful design tool that can provide structure and make your web content easier to understand.
Here’s a basic checklist, by no means comprehensive:
- Add alternative text for images
- Include captions for video content
- Design with adequate contrast (and allow user to adjust contrast)
- Follow recommended sizes for default body text (and allow user to adjust text size)
- Make form fields visible and ideally include the field labels directly above the form field
- Write meaningful page titles
- Make link text meaningful and descriptive
- Design so that a user can navigate site using only a keyboard
The A11Y Project has a much more complete list. W3C and accessibility.gov are additional resources to learn more. And WebAIM has useful some tools for evaluating your website for accessibility. They also provide specific suggestions on improvements to make.
Do you know any beginner tools/resources for someone who is interested in learning more about UX/UI?
I consider myself to be a UX practitioner, but am by no means an expert! Much of what I know about user-focused design stems from earlier in my career when I did a lot of usability lab testing as part of my job as a web designer. I learned so much by watching real people use websites and applications to complete tasks or find information. Highly recommend it, if you ever get the chance to visit a usability testing lab or take part in a usability study.
Of course, usability testing is only one aspect of UX. For anyone who wants to learn UX today, there are a plethora of courses online - many of which are free. InVision has an e-course that is delivered by email. Learnux.io also has really good info! Skillshare and Udemy have paid options, or you can find really good information on Youtube. (Would post more links, but Discuss is only allowing me 2 links per post.)
In general, I would say start with the basics and learn UX and design principles before moving into learning specific tools, applications, or techniques.
Oh! And if you can, find a UX and design mentor! Mine happens to be in this group – @chuckmallott Chuck, please feel free to chime in if you have any additional advice or resources for someone learning UX.