Accessibility has become a crucial part of website development. This helps provide seamless interactions for everyone, regardless of their abilities or disabilities. The healthcare industry, in particular, must pioneer providing an inclusive design that helps individuals with visual, auditory, motor, and cognitive impairments.
Meanwhile, making websites accessible is mandated in different countries. In the US, the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) requires certain businesses to accommodate people with disabilities, particularly the blind, deaf, and users that have to navigate by voice, screen readers, or other assistive technologies. You risk lawsuits and financial liabilities if you fail to comply.
Best Practices for Incorporating Accessibility in Healthcare Websites
Be sure to consider all these when collaborating with your trusted user experience developer.
Make the site screen reader ready
People with visual impairments and those with cognitive limitations often use screen readers. These tools, when activated, convert texts into clear audio that online users can comprehend, allowing them to understand the site more effectively.
Generally, there are third-party programs that allow visually-impaired users to do such a task. Developers must allow users to access their sites using these tools. That way, even those who couldn’t see the screen correctly could still understand the content and elements of the website.
Ensure the site is keyboard friendly
Some online users have difficulty lifting devices like a computer mouse, impacting their ability to navigate websites better. This is why many developers make their websites highly accessible through keyboard shortcuts.
The best example of this is the tab key. Pressing this button must allow users to jump between links, forms, CTA buttons, and other website elements. Other standard keys are the arrows, enter, shift, and space bar. Incorporating these standard keys and their corresponding shortcuts will allow users with certain motor conditions to navigate your website seamlessly.
Enable resizable texts
The zoom feature on computers and smart devices allows low-vision users to read texts on their screens properly. Many believe it’s the user’s responsibility to enlarge text when navigating websites. However, developers can also help improve this experience. They can create pages that follow a browser’s default ways of enlarging content. Ideally, content must be resizable by 200 percent without losing functionality or readability.
Incorporate speech recognition
Speech-recognition software is also a popular assistive technology that enables users, particularly those with motor impairments, to interact with various online pages and platforms. Generally, these programs recognize and transform spoken commands into grammatically correct texts and other actions. This feature is handy for those having difficulty using a mouse or keyboard.
Practice proper formatting
Various formatting practices help make content easier to read and navigate. For instance, texts must always be left-aligned for a more organized and easy-to-read look, while bolds and italics must be used sparingly.
A heading hierarchy is also recommended for visitors, particularly those with screen readers, to get a good sense of the content’s flow. They can also use these headings to jump from one section to another.
Meanwhile, using the proper font is essential to boosting the site’s accessibility. For instance, people with low vision need a different setting than dyslexic users. While there are no specific ADA guidelines for font styles, there are certain typefaces that developers can use to make their content more readable. For example, sans-serif fonts like Arial, Helvetica, Verdana, and Calibri are all accessible.
Utilize the right colors
Color also plays a pivotal role in providing accessibility to people with visual impairments, particularly those who are color blind. An inclusive design incorporates colors that all visitors can see. These are colors with a lot of contrast so that online users can differentiate the content from the background or one element from another.
Offer captions for video content
Create a Website That Truly Cares
Offering accessibility is not a one-size-fits-all solution. It’s a continuous process that involves careful planning to ensure that all online users can navigate the site seamlessly. Aside from compliance, embracing the abovementioned solutions will reflect how committed healthcare providers are to offering the best experiences for potential patients.