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Everyone benefits from accessible apps

Published May 22, 2024 | Written by Dieter Peirs

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A typical product design process aims to ensure your product meets the needs of your users. But does it account for all users and situations? If inclusivity is important to you, incorporating accessibility into your design process is essential. In fact, adding accessibility offers additional benefits.

Expand your customer base

Good accessibility guarantees that your product can be used by a wider audience. This includes not only the 87 million Europeans with disabilities but also millions more who may face temporary or situational disabilities, such as injuries or environmental limitations.

Two button examples: the left fails WCAG color contrast, the right passes WCAG AA-level

Improve your users’ experience

Fixing common accessibility issues leads to better usability for all users. Clear navigation, better contrast and intuitive design benefits everyone. When your product is easier to use, customer satisfaction and retention naturally improve.

Showcase your brand values

People today are increasingly aware about inclusivity and social responsibility. By prioritizing accessibility, you demonstrate a genuine commitment to these principles. This dedication can highlight your brand values, attracting not only customers but also current and future employees who want to work for a socially responsible company.

97% of citizens agreed that people with disabilities should be able to participate fully in society and that the existing internal barriers make it very hard

Screenshot of an application with a reduced motion setting enabled

At Miro, for instance, accessibility is an essential component that steers their creativity. Features like “Reduce Motion,” initially conceived to alleviate visual overload for vestibular disorder sufferers, now cater to a broader user base.

Drive innovation

Designing for accessibility can drive innovation and creativity. When designers are challenged to create products that are usable by people with a wide range of abilities, they often develop solutions that are more flexible, robust and cutting-edge. This innovative approach can lead to new features and improvements that benefit all users.

Reduce legal risks

Compliance with accessibility regulations, such as the European Accessibility Act (EAA), will be mandatory in the future. Non-compliance could result in fines. By making sure your product meets accessibility standards now, you reduce these risks and avoid having to re-engineer your product later on.

European Accessibility Act (EAA)

The EAA requires that digital products and services are accessible. This applies to products like smartphones, computers and operating systems, terminals (such as ATMs and ticket systems), TV equipment with digital television or internet services (smart TVs), and e-readers. It also covers services like phone and media services, websites, transportation tickets (for planes, buses, trains, and boats), banking, e-books, and online shopping.

EU member states had to turn this Act into national law by June 28, 2022, and start enforcing it by June 28, 2025. Belgium missed the first deadline, so the exact laws aren't clear yet. However, the standards in the Act are a minimum benchmark and can already be used to check compliance.

Next steps

Now is the perfect time to evaluate your efforts regarding accessibility. Not sure where to start? Here are some starting points:

  • Evaluate your branding: ensure color contrast, typography and click target sizes follow the WCAG 2.1 rules (More about WCAG 2.1)
  • Add an accessibility statement to your product stating the current situation and your planned actions. Organise an audit to help you assess your current situation.
  • Include people with a disability in your next user test.

Published May 22, 2024 | Written by Dieter Peirs

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