Why To Implement Design for Accessibility

web-accessibility.jpgHave you ever wondered who benefits from creating an accessible design? One that meets the needs of people who have impairments like the vision impaired. When I think of people in this situation I usually envision someone who is blind and can't think of many blind people. This can give way to the feeling that there aren't that many people with impairments and on the basis of this it's easy to make designing an accessible site a low priority.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau there are up to 60 million Americans with disabilities that are trying to use a computer to learn and interact on the web. If you do that math that's roughly 20% of the U.S. population. Yet, awareness of this issue seems to be fairly low and many designers are building sites and web applications that aren't usable to this 20%.

Are you still having trouble envisioning who this 20% is? Let's look at one large group. Consider everyone with color blindness. In the U.S. about 7% of men are color blind. In Australia the number is 8% of men. These men, not only have trouble picking out matching clothes but, have trouble reading parts of the screen where different colors point out different things. Take for example a set of links in a blog post. Color them a different color from the rest of the text and remove the underlining (a commonly used technique). Someone without any vision issues can see them fine. Someone with color blindness is likely to miss the link denoted by a different coloring. And there you have an inaccessible design.

So, next time you create a new design or update an existing design consider making it an accessible design. There are a lot more people out there with accessibility issues that you might think.