Why Your Website Needs to Prioritize Accessibility over Aesthetics

As a web design agency, you may be tempted to focus on making your clients’ websites look as visually stunning as possible, with flashy graphics, trendy fonts, and cool animations. However, if you prioritize aesthetics over accessibility, you risk excluding a significant portion of your potential audience who have various disabilities, such as vision impairments, hearing loss, motor disabilities, or cognitive challenges. In this post, we’ll explain why accessibility should be your top priority when designing websites and offer some tips on how to achieve it without sacrificing aesthetics entirely.

First, let’s define what we mean by accessibility. According to the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG), accessibility means designing web content and functionality that can be perceivable, operable, understandable, and robust for all users, regardless of their abilities or disabilities. This includes providing alternative text for images, captions or transcripts for videos, clear labels for form fields, sufficient contrast between foreground and background colors, keyboard navigation for menus, and compatibility with assistive technologies such as screen readers or voice recognition software.

Now, let’s look at some reasons why accessibility matters more than aesthetics for websites:

  • Legal compliance: In many countries, including the US, the UK, and the EU, web accessibility is a legal requirement under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), the Equality Act, or the Directive on the Accessibility of Websites and Mobile Applications of Public Sector Bodies. Failing to comply with these regulations can result in lawsuits, fines, or reputational damage.
  • Business impact: Even if legal compliance is not a concern, accessibility can have a significant impact on your clients’ business performance. By making their websites accessible, they can attract more visitors who may have disabilities, but also benefit other users who may prefer alternative ways of consuming content, such as captions in noisy environments or keyboard-only navigation for speed and convenience. Moreover, accessible websites can enhance SEO, as they tend to have clearer and more structured content, which search engines can crawl and index more easily.
  • Ethical responsibility: Finally, as a web design agency, you have an ethical responsibility to create inclusive and equitable websites that respect the dignity and diversity of all users. By prioritizing accessibility, you contribute to a more accessible and inclusive web, where everyone can participate and contribute to their full potential.

Now that we’ve established why accessibility matters, let’s see how you can achieve it without compromising aesthetics. Here are some tips:

  • Use color contrast tools: Tools like WebAIM’s Color Contrast Checker can help you ensure that the color combinations you use have sufficient contrast for people with low vision or color blindness. Try to avoid using only color to convey meaning, as this may exclude users who cannot perceive it.
  • Provide alternative text and captions: For images, videos, and other multimedia content, provide alternative text descriptions and captions or transcripts that convey the essential information in text format. This allows users who cannot see or hear the content to understand its context and relevance.
  • Optimize keyboard navigation: Make sure that all interactive elements, such as links, buttons, and form fields, can be accessed and activated using only the keyboard, without relying on mouse hover or touch gestures. Test your website using keyboard-only navigation to see if it’s easy and logical to use.
  • Test with assistive technologies: Use screen readers, magnifiers, voice recognition software, or other assistive technologies to test your website’s accessibility and identify any barriers or bugs that may prevent users from accessing or using it. Involve users with disabilities in your testing process to get their feedback and insights on how to improve your website’s accessibility.

In conclusion, while aesthetics may make a website look good, accessibility makes it work for everyone. By prioritizing

Teamalfy is an award winning web design agency based in Accra and London. We build websites, mobile apps, desktop software and SaaS Applications. Teamalfy is noted for delivering cutting edge designs for our clients. Teamalfy’s services include UI/UX prototyping, user flows, project management, search engine optimization, Tech support and web design.

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