User experience (UX) has been something of a buzz word in the last few years, especially as the way consumers buy and research products and services has changed.

Consumers are working and making decisions on the go and as such they become time poor - needing quick fixes, answers, and opportunities to convert.  

If you’re not engaging with them and delivering the right content, in the right format at the right time then you could lose out to the competition.

As part of UX, accessibility has jumped to the top of the agenda. Brands must make sure that the information they are sharing is suitable for users of all ages and with varying degrees of digital maturity.  This is something that we have seen and as such have placed a particular focus on it, in terms of content in the written form and design.

TechTarget recently broke down accessibility into four key pillars. They say that your content and platforms must be: 

  • Perceivable. The information of the user interface and content must be presented in a way so that nothing is ‌undetectable‌ or‌ ‌invisible to the user. The user should be able to consume content with another sense if they have a disability. For example, while most people access the web visually, those who are blind or partially sighted may need to use touch or audio instead. 
  • Operable. Users should be able to operate a website with the controls they normally use, even if they're not used by most people. The interactive elements of an interface, such as controls, buttons, and navigation, should be operated physically through multiple forms of interaction, such as voice commands. 
  • Understandable. Websites should be understandable to every user and not overly complicated. A website should be presented in standard ‌patterns‌ ‌of‌ ‌use‌‌ ‌‌and‌‌ ‌‌designed so it is not completely unrecognisable to the way a site normally operates. The end user should be able to understand the meaning and purpose of the information presented in proper context. 
  • Robust. Content must be equally robust across a ‌wide‌ ‌variety‌ ‌of‌ ‌technologies and platforms, from one browser to the next, from PCs to handheld devices and so on. 

In terms of the basics around accessibility it is common to look at the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG). They specify at a granular level (and aren’t limited to) the following: 

  • The design interface must have a logical consistent structure and content hierarchy 
  • Instructions are provided for understanding and operating content and that they do not rely solely on sensory characteristics of components such as shape, size, visual location, orientation, or sound. For example, “To move to the next section of the survey, select the green arrow icon labelled 'Next' in the lower right corner below the last survey question." This example uses both positioning, colour and labelling to help identify the icon. 
  • If any audio is intended to play automatically for more than 3 seconds, either a mechanism is available to pause or stop the audio, or a mechanism is available to control audio volume independently from the overall system volume level. 
  • Designs must provide a logical order for keyboard users. Ask yourself if the order of elements remain the same on differing devices/viewports sizes. 
  • Every button or link has a clear purpose. 
  • Any interface that requires complex gestures using more than one digit (pinch & zoom etc.) or a drag mechanism (slider) must have an alternative single point activation.  

This list gives us a pretty good starting point and allows for a fully accessible strategy to be built out. Remember, it’s not just the actual content that you are pushing out to your audience but it’s the layout and positioning of that content that can assist with accessibility.

Increasingly users are expecting to read and navigate a site in a particular way. Whilst user journeys are a good tool for businesses who are building sites to plan and understand this navigation, there also has to be a break fix for those who don’t follow traditional routes.

As part of our service offering Mando has designed a fully accessibility audit to allow businesses the opportunity to better serve their audience.

Not factoring in accessibility is proven to have a detrimental impact of user experience and as such should be top of any digital agenda. If you want to get started and better serve your customers – get in touch today.

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