Navigation and Visual Design
Websites should be easily navigable to ensure maximum benefit to and functionality for its users. However, many websites prove cumbersome and otherwise difficult to explore and utilize for a variety of reasons. All websites, even those that are seemingly easy to navigate, may prove especially difficult for individuals with certain disabilities. The following steps should be taken to help make a website more navigable:
- Design a website so it can be used without a mouse for individuals who may be incapable of or have difficulty using one. These users may utilize keyboards or speaking software instead.
- Provide instructions and/or a menu for how to navigate a website without a mouse. Make these instructions easily findable on the site. This may include keystroke combinations, such as holding the “ALT” key and pressing a number to get to various pages.
There are a seemingly infinite number of options when it comes to website design. Certainly, attempting to have the most stylish, visually captivating site on the internet is a strategy many organizations attempt to employ to attract and keep users on their websites. However, certain design styles and choices may be inaccessible and/or detrimental to individuals with disabilities. Consider the following when creating or editing a website’s overall style and design:
- Ensure all visual elements, from images to graphics to text, are presented and displayed in a contrasting manner. For example, make dark backgrounds for light colored text, or light backgrounds for dark colored text.
- Ensure any animations, popups, and other moving components are not visually aggressive. For example, do not incorporate animations with bright flashing lights that may confuse or trigger events in individuals with brain or seizure disorders.
- Avoid color combinations that most commonly present difficulty for individuals who experience various types of colorblindness.
- Provide sufficient white space or blank areas on a web page to allow text to be easily identifiable and easily read without other visual distractions. Keep web pages clean and uncluttered where possible.
- Use multiple signifiers, such as different font colors, sizes, and punctuation marks when distinguishing or asking for specific information via a form.