Building a website or web application to me is the equivalent of telling a story. As engineers, we act as authors aiming to present our works to our audience in the best way they can consume them. So that would mean ensuring that we aim to make user experiences as pleasant for all is a top priority right? Wrong!

This is rarely a priority, let alone a top priority, for most build teams. In truth, a big reason is most engineers don’t have the usability understanding to comprehend this concept. That concept being Accessibility.

Defining Accessibility

In short, accessibility in usability can be defined as ensuring all possible users are granted a minimal quality experience. This means that users with average and above viewing capabilities can enjoy the application, as well as those with special conditions or use special software to experience it as well.

To illustrate this, think of a user that is navigating to your application that is visually impaired. This same user is visually impaired to the point that they need to use a tailored browser for their specific condition. Knowing this, the goal for your application should be to make it as easy to use for these users as it is for the overall majority.

Preparing For Accessibility

Accessibility isn’t a case of looking from one extreme to the next. It is a wide spectrum of use cases, shrouded in a lot of grey area. Meaning, while the extremes are important to take care of, everything in between is just as important.

Taking the appropriate preparation steps start out as simple as these steps:

  • Focus on color contrast
  • Follow proper HTML semantics
  • Take into account SEO practices
  • Be clear about the states in your application
  • Solid font hierarchy

In Closing

Understanding the concept of what accessibility is straightforward. However, the actual work needed to be done to accomplish this is much more nuanced. While this article is short and sweet, it will act as a great starting point for continued pieces going forward.