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Inclusive design (accessibility)

In many, the term 'accessibility' triggers the thought of ramps for wheelchair users – i.e., remedial improvements for people with disabilities. In contrast, the concept of 'inclusion' aims to make the design accessible in principle for all users, regardless of whether they are disabled or not. Other often used terms for this approach are 'Design for All' and Universal Design.

Inclusives (or accessible) web design means that all content can be used by everyone, including blind, visually impaired people, people with motor or dexterity impairments, or people who are deaf or hard of hearing. Another important group is that of elderly people who often require larger font sizes and better contrast.

There are clear-cut success criteria for accessibility which have been laid down in the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG 2.0) of W3C . The Techniques for WCAG offer blueprints for implementation.

Why inclusive design?

Today, web development is more often than not a re-launch of an already existing site. Old and new content plus a ragne of interactive functions is to be revamped in a visually attractive way.

For public information services, many countries have issued directives that mandate the accessibiity of sites. The commercial sector is also increasingly becoming aware of the importance of accessibility - not least because the growing number of elderly customers benefit from it.

Evaluating accessibility

To save cost and prevent later hassles, accessibility should be considered early in the design process. I can support you in different ways:

  • I can help you in drawing up public tenders. Here, you can specify which criteria should be met by the completed web site (for example, conformance to WCAG 2.0 on conformance level A or AA). Ich assess and work on your tender document so that it contains clear cut criteria that for bidders.
  • Assessment of bids and proposals. Once your tender receives a nimber of competing bids I can support you in assessing bids and selecting the winner based on your criteria AND accessibility requirements — by reviewing bids, and attending the pitch.
  • A layout review of visual design drafts helps identify weaknesses early-on. At this stage, it is usually still easy to modify the design.
  • A desgin support BITV-Test produces many detailed recommendations for improving the accessibility a web site under development.
  • A final BITV-Test involving two independent testers offers a definitive assessment of your site. If the test is successful, your site can be included in the listing 90plus. You can also demonstrate the level of accessibility on your site by including the seals 90plus oder 95plus, which point to the detailed test report.