pretty accessible extended

November 25 | 2012

this might now look like yet another boring article covering the topic, but it’s perhaps the only one of its kind, which I will later explain why. After having discussed accessibility from a more theoretical/sociological point of view, I’d now like to get a bit more practical and point out those rules that do make sense and should be taken under consideration by designers. The following list is focusing on the web, yet some aspects can also be applied to printing materials as well. Stating as followed: Alt-Tags: Always use those, so that folks can navigate through. If this parameter is missing, it would just say something like <image JPG/GIF>, not really appealing as you see. Choose a name for the image, one word or just a short phrase is fine. Make sure it’s kinda logical, yet don’t make it too complex. For example, the  image on this article has my brand on it and links to the main page, hence the Alt-Tag is “pretty accessible design | design by pxlgirl”.

  • Flash: Do not use Flash for navigation or content. Screenreaders can’t handle it very well and make it impossible for impaired people to navigate. Flash is good when you use it for a stand-alone animation, such as an intro. It’s a nice gimmick but it’s not necessary to display content and it should allow users to skip it.
  • Colors: You have all freedom here, only make sure you highlight the content using at least 1 more attribute , for example a different color for an active link combined with either font weight or text decoration… or even both if it matches the design. Try to keep some contrast, if the content background ratio is too bright or too dark, it becomes hard to read. You can test it when you display your layout on different screens.
  • Font sizes: Usually, any all are allowed, unless you are creating a project dealing with disability directly, set your font to a bit larger than average.  However, do always make sure that users can adjust the sizes in their browsers as well. Avoid using images containing content text, that will be a long Alt-Tag for those who can’t see it, a pain in the ass for those with little eyesight as they can’t scale anything.
  • Images and Graphics: Prioritize your graphical elements and make sure they are following some logic in your design concept. Any additional gimmicks and decorations would be confusing and hard to detect, so keep it clean and simple.

In order to visualize those rules, I’ve created a called “Pretty accessible design“, representing a fictional organization or institution advocating people with visual impairments. Learn more about this subject in my next article.

4 new insights:

  1. 11/25/2012Curt says:

    This does not seem like a case study. It is an opinion. I like your insight.
    You should conduct a case study, maybe survey readers, etc.
    Collect data.

    Would love to see your face, and not a cartoon.


  2. 11/26/2012pxlgirl says:

    the definition of a design case study is not exactly the same as in the scientific field. They are not existing projects, but rather experiments for demonstration purposes on a given subject, with prior research (using existing facts and information) in order visualize and communicate in the best way possible.

  3. 11/29/2012keke says:


    Those issue about accessibility for impared people are really commun to any web designer. Most of the web site want to seduce the ” greatest blind ” called google. So web site with no alternated text, or using flash without at least some accessibility wont be well efficient in SEO rank.
    In my web browser game, both portal and inner game have to be design regarding blind and deaf people. This double the normal time of work to do so. Not every company can afford this additonal cost.

    So some time company are aware about their accessibiltyless, but can’t afford the effort to upgrade their website.

    Bye !

  4. 11/30/2012pxlgirl says:

    I don’t really think it’s a money question, it’s more the way of thinking, just like I described in my first accessibility article The rules I stated above are not really hard to apply and can be adapted quite quickly and at a reasonable cost.

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