Making websites more accessible

I passed a blind lady this morning on the steps, navigating the stairs with her cane. It really struck me how much I take my health for granted. According to the US Census, of the 291.1 million people in the 2005 population of the United States, 54.4 million, or 18.7 percent, reported some level of disability.

There’s a good chance that some of our website visitors may have some form of disability. With that in mind, I try to make sure the sites I design meet the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0. Some of the tools I use to check accessibility are.

  • WebAIM’s WCAG 2.0 Checklist WebAIM has a bunch of great resources. This checklist is a great start.
  • WAVE Web Accessibility Evaluation Tool Check pages for accessibility problems.
  • Color Contrast Checker Make sure your colors have plenty of contrast.
  • Functional Accessibility Evaluator This tool will crawl your site and let you know what needs work.
  • Accessibility Developer Tools This Chrome add-on works well for evaluating pages.

I try to be empathetic in design since I was born with Protanopia. Doesn’t that sound awful? It’s not really that bad. I’m just red-green colorblind, and with me being a designer, I guess it’s kind of weird. You will notice I always use a limited palette, and for new colors, I will use color tools. I’m pretty safe designing when using a computer. Just don’t ask me to paint using traditional tools. My paintings always come out looking like mud:)