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Volt MX Application Design and Development Guidelines: Accessibility (508 Compliance) > Importance of Accessibility

Importance of Accessibility

By integrating accessibility features and services, you can improve the usability of your app, particularly for users with disabilities. People with disabilities depend on accessible apps and services to communicate, learn, and work. By making your app more accessible, you can reach more users.

Accessible design improves overall user experience and satisfaction, especially in a variety of situations, across different devices, and for older users. Accessibility can enhance your brand, drive innovation, and extend your market reach.

There are guidelines, standards, and techniques for web accessibility, such as the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG), which is the international standard ISO/IEC 40500. Yet, when designers, developers, and project managers approach accessibility as a checklist to meet these standards, the focus is only on the technical aspects of accessibility. As a result, the human interaction aspect is often lost, and accessibility is not achieved.

Web designers and developers can use usability processes, methods, and techniques, to address the user interface component of accessibility. While the considerations of people with disabilities are not always included in common practices, they can easily be integrated into user experience design.

A key aspect is incorporating real people in design:

  • Ensuring that everyone involved in web projects understands the basics of how people with disabilities use the Web,
  • Involving users with disabilities early and throughout the design process, and
  • Involving users in evaluating web accessibility.

Combining accessibility standards and usability processes with real people ensures that web design is technically and functionally usable by people with disabilities. This is referred to as usable accessibility or accessible user experience (UX).

Accessibility standards also have an important role in accessible design. For example, understanding the basic Accessibility Principles and using them for developing and evaluating early prototypes helps the development team provide basic accessibility in the earliest stages. Addressing accessibility at later stages becomes increasingly difficult.

Also, usability processes and user involvement alone cannot address all accessibility issues. Even large projects cannot cover the diversity of disabilities, adaptive strategies, and assistive technologies. Accessibility guidelines, standards, and techniques ensure that the wide range of issues are adequately covered.