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May 2016


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European Commission agree to make websites and apps more accessible

European Commission agree to make websites and apps more accessible

Negotiators of the European Parliament, the Council and the Commission have just this month agreed on the first EU-wide rules to make the websites and mobile apps of public sector bodies more accessible.

In the world of web, these adjustments are about introducing steps to make a website or service accessible for people with visual impairments, manual dexterity issues or learning difficulties.

The internet has become a key way of accessing and providing information and services, it is now crucial we ensure absolutely everybody can do so, regardless of ability. Accessibility enables people with disabilities to understand, navigate, interact with and contribute to websites and apps.

Statistics tell us that about 80 million people in the EU are affected by a disability. This figure is expected to increase to 120 million by 2020 as the EU population ages.

The Directive will cover public sector bodies' websites and mobile apps, this could be administrations, courts and police departments or public hospitals, universities and libraries. They will be accessible for all citizens - in particular the blind, hard of hearing, deaf, and those with low vision and functional disabilities.

Vice-President for the Digital Single Market, Andrus Ansip, is understandably all for the agreement and said: "Tonight's agreement is an important step towards a Digital Single Market, which is about removing barriers so that all Europeans can get the best from the digital world."

The Commissioner for the Digital Economy and Society, Günther H. Oettinger, was equally enthusiastic: "It is not acceptable that millions of European citizens are left behind in the digital society. The agreement that we have just reached will ensure that everyone has the same opportunity to enjoy the benefits of the internet and mobile apps."

The following is the agreed text of the Directive:

- covers websites and mobile apps of public sector bodies with a limited number of exceptions (e.g. broadcasters, livestreaming).

- refers to the standards to make websites and mobile apps more accessible. For example, such standards foresee that there should be a text for images or that websites can be browsed without a mouse which can be difficult to use for some people with disabilities.

- requires regular monitoring and reporting of public sector websites and mobile apps by Member States. These reports have to be communicated to the Commission and to be made public. The Directive on web accessibility along with the European Accessibility Act proposed in December 2015 (press release) which covers a much wider number of products and services, are both part of the efforts of the Commission to help people with disabilities to participate fully in society.

The text will now have to be formally approved by the European Parliament and the Council. After that it will be published in the Official Journal and will officially enter into force. Member States will have 21 months to transpose the text into their national legislation.

So many people avoid using the vast amount of support and opportunities available to them online, all because of unnecessary barriers they are faced with. These can be avoided. If you want to lead in improving accessibility, we can help you with that, a good place to start is to get in touch with us.

Jordana Jeffrey
Jordana

Created on Wednesday May 25 2016 10:33 AM


Tags: website accessibility online-law europeancommission


Comments [1]








Bad UX can cost you

Bad UX can cost you

Last year bad User Experience (UX) reportedly cost LInkedIn over £9 million.
Attention to detail is imperative when it comes to producing great design with a smooth UX. But with so much involved in the design process, there is a risk of things going unnoticed.

It doesn't take much to damage the users experience so here are some things worth checking before a design is signed off and deemed good to go...

 

Don't rely on colour to convery a purpose, heierarchy or content

We are big on accessibility here at focus so to us producing a website that is accessible is not considered a nice-to-have but a must-have. People with visual disabilities for example colour blindness, would not be able to use your site effectively if you were to rely on colour, they would therefore become an excluded demographic.

Test it: colorfilter.wickline.org will let you put a color filter on top of your webpage and test it for different kinds of color blindnesses.

 

Avoid / reduce repetitive actions where possible

An example of a repetitive action is filling in a form that asks for your address more than once, you may have seen this being tackled with a tickbox you can select to say your billing adddress is the same as your shipping address. If you're not careful, users will grow tired and search for an alternative option (like a competitor!) where they can achieve their goals better and faster.

Test it: Make sure there is a way of facilitating repetitive actions such as an option to use previously entered information.

 

Accessing help does not get in the way of progress

Users ask for help when they're stuck so of course It is important for help to be an extension of what they are already doing, they should be able to easily return to that once they have received the help they need.

Test it: Put yourself in the place of the user, consider where they will ask for help, and see whether their progress are interrupted.

 

Consistent navigation

Users have to be able to find their way around and achieve their goals no matter what page they find themselves on.

Test it: Make sure that navigation is reachable on every page and that your pathways are as intuitive as possible.

 

Foreground and background are sufficiently contrasted

This is especially important for people with visual disabilities. It also improves a user’s understanding. Clear distinction aids with navigation, draws more attention to buttons and increases usability.

Test it: You could capture the screen, apply a gaussian blur to a Radius of around 3px to 5px then see if you can easily tell what’s in the foreground and what’s in the background. Then alter accordingly.

 

Don't use much more than two distinct font families

Although this isn’t a strict rule it is best for accessibility. For usability and visual purposes, sticking to two simplifies your typographic hierarchy, which improves comprehension.

Test it: Simply check that your design isn’t mixing more than two type families. You should also make sure that the ones you choose are properly matched, you can find out more on this.

 

Text fonts are no smaller than 12 pixels

Again, it’s not a fixed rule but generally speaking readability is severely reduced for sizes below 12 pixels. Ideally a minimum of 14px is said to be better for accessibility.

Test it: Pretty obvious I suppose, check all of your content to ensure all fonts used are at least 12px.

 

Reserve uppercase words for labels, headers, or acronyms

Limiting the use of uppercase words is less visually heavy and easier for the user to digest. It should be used specifically for emphasis or very restricted cases such as acronyms.

Test it: A thorough content check to make sure that uppercase words are kept to a minimum and only used where necessary.

 

You're stil wondering what LinkedIn did so wrong aren't you? A settlement in California resulted in LinkedIn dishing out over £9 million to compensate users who were manipulated by the site’s deceptive UX into handing over their address books, which LinkedIn then used to spam their contacts with connection requests.

See, bad UX can cost you!

Jordana Jeffrey
Jordana

Created on Monday May 09 2016 02:14 PM


Tags: website ux accessibility


Comments [0]