Website accessibility is more important than ever. As the world migrates to an increasingly digital environment thanks to the push of the pandemic and the pull of new technologies, those who aren’t online are left behind. But how do we create an online experience that’s accessible and accommodating to everyone?
We searched for solutions while launching our new website in September 2020. During this same month, a blind resident of Douglas County was filing multiple lawsuits against Colorado restaurants whose websites do not comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).
This was a wake-up call for businesses to make sure their website can be fully accessed by screen-reading software — not only to avoid lawsuits but also because it’s the right thing to do. We chose accessiBe as the AI software solution for our own website as well as client websites we’ve designed and developed.
No matter your ability status, we encourage users to try out the accessibility features. Here are a few that surprised and impressed us the most:
Seizure Safe Profile
This feature eliminates flashes and reduces color, allowing epileptic and seizure-prone users to browse safely around a website. accessiBe’s powerful AI detects blinking animations and risky color combinations, removing these from all pages of a website while this profile is activated.
Cognitive Disability Profile
For users needing help with reading and focus, this profile helps to organize the website’s content and color-code it by importance. Titles and headlines are boxed in blue, and links or clickable elements such as buttons are boxed in orange. This helps people with autism, dyslexia, CVA, etc. focus on the essentials of the website.
Keyboard Navigation Profile
With this profile, there’s a lot more to keyboard navigation than just ‘Tab’ and ‘Enter’. This feature allows motor-impaired users to operate the website conveniently and speedily by keying shortcuts like “m” to skip to a page’s menus, “h” to scroll through a page’s headings, “b” to skip to any buttons, and “f” find any forms on the page. No mouse or hand-lifting necessary.
Content Adjustment: Readable Font
The “Content Adjustment” section of accessiBe has all sorts of tools to help with readability. This goes way beyond the “Ctrl” “+” and “Ctrl” “-” trick on Chrome for zooming in and out on a webpage (although that’s still very handy for websites that have not implemented accessibility). Try the “readable font” feature in case a website’s text is a little over-stylized. You can also adjust the font size, line spacing, and letter spacing. A sight for strained eyes!
Color Adjustment: Low Saturation
In the “Color Adjustment” section, you’ll find more eye relief with options like “Dark Contrast”, “Monochrome” (yes, that makes the entire website a soothing grayscale) and “Low Saturation”. Lowering the saturation of colors goes a long way to mute too-bold color palettes.
Orientation Adjustment: Reading Guide and Reading Mask
If you keep scrolling through the acessiBe menu, some of the best features are saved for last in the “Orientation Adjustments” section. Here, you can mute sounds, hide images, and focus on text with the Reading Guide and Reading Mask. The Reading Guide enables a blue line to hover below text — perfect for long reads to help you keep your place. The Reading Mask darkens the entire screen except for a narrow line to help you focus on small sections of text. Long-reading from a screen doesn’t have to be burdensome to anyone of any reading ability.
Bonus Orientation Adjustment: Big Cursor
Have you ever lost the mouse on the screen? No more wiggling it around to track its location. Keep it out of hiding by changing it to “Big Black Cursor” or “Big White Cursor”.
Does your website need to level up on ADA compliance? Get in touch, and we’ll compare and implement a solution. In the meantime, keep exploring the accessiBe tool on this website and anywhere else you see the accessibility icon.