Nowadays, businesses invest a lot of time optimising their websites to stand out amongst their competitors and generate the highest amount of sales and leads, but are they really thinking about their website and its users if it doesn’t cater to everyone?
It is reported that between 15-20% of the world’s population is considered neurodiverse (that’s over one billion people!) but unfortunately, these users still struggle to access digital platforms and online services.
What is neurodiversity?
Neurodiversity refers to the different ways a person’s brain processes information and is often used to describe individuals with varying cognitive or developmental differences such as those who have Autism, ADHD or learning disabilities.
Today, 1 in 7 people are considered to be neurodiverse and can have an impact on how they process information – from memory, and perception to attention.
We believe there are more opportunities for the internet to be made more accessible, and inclusivity online shouldn’t be a ‘nice to have’ option for your website, it should be a given. So, if you’re not sure whether your website is inclusive enough, then here are 4 tips for improving your website.
What can you do to make your website more inclusive?
The first consideration to make when designing your website is typography. We understand that aesthetics are important but the ability to read the messaging on your website is vital. Stick to these three rules when picking your typeface:
- Choose Serif-Sans fonts such as Arial, Verdana, Century Gothic, Calibri and Open Sans as users with Dyslexia often struggle to interpret Serif typefaces.
- Increase kerning between letters so words don’t appear overcrowded and hard to read.
- Check your font size. It is suggested that your font size is between 12-14 points according to the British Dyslexia Foundation.
Being clear, concise and well-formatted when writing the copy for your website should be standard practice. However, there are a few more steps you can follow to ensure inclusivity:
- Stick to active tenses, rather than past tenses. Try using ‘She wrote a letter’ instead of ‘A letter was written by her’.
- Avoid using metaphors in your copy. This can be really confusing for individuals on the Autism spectrum.
- Separate your copy into smaller paragraphs, making your text easier to digest for everyone!
- Use descriptive calls to action. For example, changing ‘click here’ to ‘see our portfolio’ is a simple but effective way of letting your user know exactly what you want them to do by describing the actual purpose of the button.
Consider using online tools such as Hemmingway to see how you can improve your website copy for your users.
Consider using soft and mild hues with no harsh contrasts when choosing your colour palette. This avoids the risk of overwhelm and sensory overload when users are trying to navigate your website.
If you are unsure whether the contrast of your colour palette is too harsh – Check out WebAIM’s contrast tool.
Content is a tricky part of any website as you need to visually attract your audience, whilst telling them a story about your brand and what it has to offer. To be 100% inclusive, we have 3 more steps to add to your list when planning content for your website:
- Be mindful of animation. Make sure there’s a balance between stimulating and overwhelming, to cater for everyone. Too many animations and too much motion could cause anxiety for Autistic individuals, whereas those with ADHD need more stimulation to stay concentrated.
- Avoid auto-playing videos. This could be overwhelming when landing straight on your homepage. it also has the potential to be too distracting if playing continuously in the background.
- Add subtitles and captions to videos which can help individuals process videos more easily.
Inclusivity should be a fundamental foundation of web design, not an afterthought. By considering typography, language, colour, and content, businesses can ensure a more accessible website, fostering a positive user experience for all visitors.
If you need some help in increasing the inclusivity of your website, then please get in touch with our team – we’d love to help!