Website Accessibility and ADHD: 5 Awesome Strategies
Website accessibility is an essential issue for all website designers and developers. By creating websites that are accessible to everyone, regardless of their abilities or disabilities, we can create a better user experience for all visitors. And when it comes to designing accessible websites, one group we should keep in mind is those with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD).
ADHD is a condition that affects millions of people in the United States. According to the National Institute of Mental Health, about 4.4% of adults (ages 18-44) in the United States are diagnosed with ADHD. Those with ADHD experience difficulty concentrating, focusing, and staying organized, making it challenging to navigate and use websites that are cluttered or difficult to navigate.
To create a website that is more accessible for people with ADHD, we consider these five key strategies:
1. Simplify, simplify, simplify!
A cluttered website with too many elements and distractions can be overwhelming for someone with ADHD. Keep the design simple and uncluttered with straightforward navigation and easy-to-read fonts. Anyone with ADHD can be easily distracted by too much going on, so avoiding using too many colors, patterns, or animations is best.
2. Use clear and concise language.
People with ADHD may have difficulty processing large amounts of information at once. Use plain language that is easy to read and understand. Break up text into short paragraphs and use headings and subheadings to organize the content. Organized content will also be helpful for anyone using assistive technology to consume your content, such as screen readers.
3. Provide visual cues
Who doesn’t love a good visual? Visual cues can help someone with ADHD focus on the most critical parts of the website. Use icons, arrows, and bolded text to highlight important information.
4. Provide options for customization.
Give users the ability to customize the website to their liking, such as adjusting font size, contrast, or background color. Customizing can help users with ADHD find the best setting for them.
5. Avoid automatic media playback.
Auto-playing videos or audio can be distracting and disruptive for someone with ADHD. Provide the option to play media only when the user chooses.
By implementing these design strategies, we can create a website that is more accessible and user-friendly for people with ADHD. And by making a website accessible to everyone, we can create a more inclusive online experience for all visitors.
What is Website Accessibility?
Web accessibility means designing websites and web tools to make them accessible for everyone to use, including people with disabilities. However, many websites have barriers that make them difficult or impossible for some people to use. Web accessibility benefits not only people with disabilities but also people using different devices and in different situations. It is vital to make the web accessible to provide equal access and opportunity to people with diverse abilities.
In many situations, website accessibility is required by law.
The Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) and the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) are related to web accessibility for people with disabilities, but they have different functions and scopes.
The ADA is a US law prohibiting discrimination against individuals with disabilities in many areas of public life, including employment, transportation, public accommodations, telecommunications, and government services. The ADA requires that businesses and organizations provide reasonable accommodations to individuals with disabilities to enable their full participation.
WCAG, on the other hand, provides technical guidance and recommendations for making web content more accessible to people with disabilities. The guidelines cover various aspects of web content accessibility, including text alternatives for non-text content, keyboard accessibility, color contrast, and more. WCAG is not a law or regulation but is widely recognized as the international standard for web accessibility. Many organizations and governments use it as the basis for their accessibility policies and regulations.
In summary, the ADA is a law that mandates accessibility for people with disabilities in various areas of public life. At the same time, WCAG is a set of guidelines/accessibility standards that provide technical guidance and recommendations for making web content accessible. While compliance with WCAG does not guarantee compliance with the ADA, following WCAG can help organizations ensure that their web content is accessible to a wide range of users, including those with disabilities, and can help them meet their obligations under the ADA.
Imagine you’re playing a game with a friend, but your friend can’t see, hear, or understand what’s happening. For your friend to play the game with you, you need to make some changes to the game.
It’s the same thing with websites. Some people have a hard time seeing, hearing, or even understanding things on a website, but they still want to be able to use it just like you do. So, we need to make some changes to the website so that everyone can use it, no matter what kind of challenges they have.
For example, we might add a unique description of pictures so that someone who can’t see very well can understand the concept. Or, we might add captions to videos so that someone can better understand what’s being said.
Another excellent analogy for explaining website accessibility is to think about a public building with a wheelchair ramp. Just like a wheelchair ramp allows people who use wheelchairs to enter the building and access everything inside, website accessibility will enable people with disabilities to access and use a website.
Imagine if the building had only stairs and no ramp. People who use wheelchairs cannot enter the building or access the things inside. In the same way, if a website is not accessible, people with disabilities may be unable to access the content or use the features on the website.
By making the building accessible with a ramp, everyone can enter and access the things inside. Similarly, by making a website accessible, everyone can access the content and use the features of the website, regardless of disabilities.