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Accessible web for an inclusive app experience

Enterprise app experience development is more challenging with increased need for standard compliance certification for web accessibility, usability and ergonomic standards. Creating a robust, easy to perceive, understand and simple to operate user interface is very essential for a successful inclusive app experience.

Creating an inclusive user interface for enterprise applications isn’t that difficult as often believed. While, a progressive standard compliance pathway would be ideal for many of the existing app user interfaces, it is important to understand that time and efforts required to achieve higher levels of compliance is much more than lower levels.

Web accessibility Standards

  • WCAG – Web Content Accessibility Guidelines.
  • Section 508 Compliance.
  • EN 301 549 – European Standard for digital accessibility.
  • BITV – Barrierefreie-Informationstechnik-Verordnung.

Although different organisations, countries and regions have set up specific accessibility conformance laws, the most popular and widely accepted baseline standard is WCAG.

This article focuses on understanding different web accessibility standards and the key building blocks of web accessibility as per WCAG. The current version of WCAG 2.1 standard was published on 5 June 2018. WCAG 2.2 is expected to be released soon.

WCAG accessibility standard compliance levels

Web content accessibility guidance by the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) is organised under 4 principles and each of them have testable success criteria at three different levels.

  • Level A
  • Level AA
  • Level AAA

The accessibility conformance of a web user interface depends on the following 4 priniciples.

How easy to percieve?

The perceptibility guidelines measures, how easy it is to perceive the information and the user interface components, for its users. Textual information is often easily perceived. But modern user interface components include several non textual information, including, but not limited to images, videos, audios, etc. and unless specially designed, all users will not be able to perceive the contents easily.

How easy to operate?

All user interface component including navigation menus should be easy to operate, using variety of user inputs such as keyboards, pointer devices, assertive technologies, etc.

How easy to understand?

The understandability factors rely upon several factors, including the programatic determination of content language, predictable nature of user interface components, how well it reduces errors and assists users to corrects the errors when user inputs are required.

How robust it is?

The robustness is measured on the factors such as user agent compatibility including assertive technologies. It also considers how well, a web page is structured and different state changes are understood by different user agents.

Designing for inclusive app experience

Designing an inclusive app experience is much more relevant than ever before. In an inclusive world, the user interface components and websites should consider catering needs of different users and different ways of interacting with system. Web developers, designers, content writers, usability experts, and visualisers should consider this factor while designing a web interface solution.

Accessibility is no longer an after thought, instead it’s one of the key success criteria for modern web application interfaces.