Designing websites and apps with accessibility in mind involves making equal access to information and functionality for all users a priority.
The graph below displays the amount of times ‘accessibility’ has been mentioned in Google Books index of full-text books. You can see that there is a clear correlation between the releases of new technology and amount of times this term was mentioned. Soon after the first computer with a digital display was released, and the first website going live, there were huge increases in the amount of mentions of the word ‘accessibility’.
EY-Seren’s Festival of Colour
At the end of last year, we celebrated the opening of ‘The EY Exhibition: The Impressionists’ at the Tate by holding our very own Festival of Colour. Each day we held a talk in our offices focusing on various aspects of colour. I researched and presented on colour and accessibility; how people are affected by colour blindness and how we, as designers, design with accessibility in mind.
So, what is colour blindness?
Colour blindness refers to an inability to distinguish red, green, or blue light.
The most common type of colour blindness is red/green. People with red/green colour blindness do not mix up red and green. Instead, all colours which have red or green as part of the whole colour are perceived differently, and are often confused.
For example, if a person has red/green colour blindness they will find it difficult to distinguish blues from purples because they can’t ‘see’ the red element of the colour purple.
The image below displays how colour is affected by these two deficiencies, Dueteranope (the inability to distinguish green) and Protanope (the inability to distinguish red)
The Digital Age
More and more, companies are developing their online presence because it has become a main source of business. However, it’s also where their customers are, so it’s where customers with accessibility issues are too.
Colour blindness affects around 1/12 males and 1/200 females. This means that for every 100 people that visit a website or app, up to 8 people could experience content differently than it was intended.
Therefore, designing products and services with accessibility difficulties in mind is a key component to creating exceptional customer experiences.
For those users who suffer with accessibility issues from colour blindness, detecting colour changes on screen can be difficult. By using other visual treatments, and by using more than just colour to convey messaging, we can provide a clearer and more accessible customer experience.
For example, the image above displays how a simple, unsuccessful login journey can be made much more accessible.
By adding elements such as icons and text notifications, or using colour in conjunction with other visual aids such as patterns, it is more likely that information will be understood correctly.
As designers who understand the importance of exceptional customer experience, we would be wise to keep accessibility in the front of our minds. That way, we’re sure to design products that are reached, and used (as was intended) by as many people as possible, whilst creating the best possible experience for our customers.
George has been with EY-Seren for over a year. In the past, he worked as a freelance and in-house designer across the legal, energy and finance sectors, but moved here because of our coffee machine. During his time at EY-Seren he has worked on projects across all sectors. Out of work, he spends his time going to festivals and losing money trading crypto currency.