Why Accessibility Matters in Design

Oli Phillips

Klutch Colour

In design, aesthetics often takes the spotlight. While aesthetics undoubtedly hold importance, there is another dimension that designers must consider: accessibility. Accessibility in design encourages us to create visually captivating and meaningful designs that not only inspire but are also accessible to individuals of all abilities.

Understanding Accessibility

Accessibility in design means creating visuals, whether in print or digital that can be comprehended and appreciated by a diverse audience, regardless of their physical or cognitive abilities. It is about ensuring that design is inclusive and welcoming to everyone.

A Designers Perspective on Accessibility

Enhanced creativity: Accessibility challenges us to think differently, inspiring innovative solutions that enhance the visual impact of our designs.

Designing with purpose: Accessibility reminds us that our designs have a higher purpose. We're not just creating pretty visuals, we're creating communication tools that convey information, evoke emotions, and provide content for all.

User-centric design: Accessibility prompts us to consider the diverse needs and preferences of our audience, especially those with disabilities. A user-centric approach ensures our designs are more effective and resonate on a deeper level.

Designing with Accessibility in Mind

Here are a few key principles and practices for designing with accessibility in mind:

  1. Make sure that colour selections and contrast ratios are sufficient to render content legible and distinguishable, particularly for users with visual impairment. There are several online resources and plugins that can assist with this such as Stark and Adobe.
  2. Pick legible fonts and make sure there is enough contrast between copy and background colours.
  3. Use hierarchy to guide users' attention and improve information processing
  4. Maintain a consistent design language, making it easier for users to navigate and comprehend.
  5. Provide concise, descriptive alt text for images so they can be read by screen readers.
  6. Stay informed about the evolving world of accessibility guidelines and best practices.
  7. ​​Regularly gather feedback from individuals with diverse abilities via user testing to identify and address accessibility issues

Here is a handy infographic with some further tips.

As designers, we have the power to create visuals that not only captivate but also communicate, inform, and empower. Embracing accessibility is not a limitation it's an invitation to elevate our creativity and expand our impact. It's a reminder that our designs have the potential to enrich the lives of all who encounter them. Accessibility in design is an opportunity to make our work more meaningful and inclusive.

To further build your awareness get to know the WCAG requirements here.