User interface (UI) and user experience (UX) design aim to create digital products and services that are intuitive, enjoyable, and accessible to all users. However, accessibility is often treated as an afterthought rather than being built into the design process from the start.
This blog post will explain why prioritizing accessibility in UI/UX design is crucial for both ethical and business reasons.
The Ethical Case for Accessibility
First and foremost, accessibility is about inclusion and upholding the rights of people with disabilities. According to the World Health Organization, over 1 billion people across the globe live with some form of disability.
Some key statistics:
– Visual impairments affect 285 million people worldwide.
– Hearing loss impacts 430 million adults globally.
– Around 15% of the world’s population has some form of disability.
People with disabilities have the same rights to access information, engage with digital content, and participate in society as able-bodied users. However, inaccessible design creates barriers that exclude people from using technology successfully.
UI/UX designers have an ethical responsibility to ensure their work can be used by people with diverse abilities. After all, the purpose of design is to solve problems for *all* users, not just some. Failing to consider accessibility harms real people and perpetuates digital inequality.
|Type of Disability
|Number of People Affected Globally
|430 million adults
|~15% of world population
The Business Case for Accessibility
Beyond ethics, prioritizing accessibility also makes smart business sense for a few key reasons:
#1. Expanded Reach and Revenue
Accessible design allows businesses to reach a larger customer base. According to the Return on Disability Group, the annual disposable income for working-age people with disabilities globally is $8 trillion.
|Estimated Spending Power
|People with disabilities
|Friends/family of people with disabilities
Building accessible websites and apps enables companies to tap into this lucrative market. It expands the potential pool of customers and leads. And by being inclusive, brands also build trust and loyalty amongst disability communities.
# 2. Mitigated Legal Risks
In many countries, digital accessibility is required by law. For example, in the United States, ADA Title III prohibits discrimination on the basis of disability in “places of public accommodation” – including websites and apps.
Companies that fail to comply face legal risks such as government audits, lawsuits, fines, and damaged public reputation. Proactively addressing accessibility minimizes these liabilities.
#3. Improved Search Engine Optimization
Factors like semantic HTML markup, alt text for images, and closed captioning for videos all help search bots better crawl and index pages. This can lead to improved search rankings and visibility.
Implementing Accessibility in UI/UX
Here are some tips to embed accessibility into the UI/UX design process:
– Conduct user research with people who have visual, hearing, mobility or cognitive impairments to understand needs and pain points.
– Design with accessibility guidelines like WCAG 2.1 and Section 508 in mind from the outset.
– Test prototypes with assistive technologies like screen readers to find gaps.
– Write clean code that uses proper semantics and structure.
– Add appropriate alt text for every visual element.
– Ensure copy is readable by avoiding jargon, writing clearly and using sufficient contrast.
– Make interfaces keyboard and screen reader accessible so they don’t require a mouse.
– Provide captions/transcripts for audiovisual content.
– Allow flexibility in navigation and interactions to accommodate diverse needs.
– Include accessibility statements on sites to let users know about available features.
While accessibility in UI/UX design still has room for improvement, the landscape is steadily evolving. Many companies are realizing the benefits of inclusive practices and working hard to implement them.
Looking ahead, we can expect to see continued advances in accessible technology and more stringent web accessibility regulations worldwide. To stay at the forefront, UI/UX agencies must make universal usability a core tenet of their process.
At Consagous Technologies, a leading UI/UX design company, we specialize in building cutting-edge yet accessible mobile apps. Our UI/UX designers conduct in-depth user research, design with diversity in mind, and rigorously test products to ensure seamless experiences for all. To learn more about our human-centered approach, contact us today.