Visual Accessibility will Be a Priority in 2020

thenextweb.com thenextweb.com2 years ago in #UX Love235

Few people think much about web accessibility. Even fewer people understand it, and without understanding there won’t be empathy or change. However, a string of high-profile class action lawsuits in 2019, like the one against Beyonce’s management company, brought the issue to light — and I expect we’ll see a lot more companies prioritizing web accessibility in 2020. At the same time, the US and many European countries are more rigorously enforcing their by-laws applying to free content accessibility. Companies will no longer be able to afford to ignore this issue. It’s no surprise that visually impaired people are demanding better access. Populated with Instagram ‘stories’ and online stores that display 360-degree, high-definition product images and video, the web has become a visual public space. That puts many people at an unnecessary disadvantage. It’s not only lawsuits driving demand for greater visual access, but the growing problem of poor vision. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), around 1.3 billion people have some visual impairment, such as low vision, color blindness, and (partial) blindness. That’s nearly 20 percent of the global population — including your website visitors — who struggle with accessibility. Adjust your mindset I’ll be the first to accept that the US is more lawsuit-happy than most. Maybe you live in another country, with a different legal culture and don’t think you need to worry about accessibility. That’s the wrong mindset. As a frontend developer, I do care about web accessibility; it’s my responsibility. I don’t want visitors just to have ‘access.’ I want them to have the best possible experience. Let’s take a closer look now at some of the different types of visual impairments people have and how to address them on a site. Light sensitivity Light sensitivity is a very common issue, especially for people who sit in front of computer screens all day. Light-sensitive people can find it hard, painful, or even impossible to read and concentrate under bright lights, on bright screens, or on web pages where bright colors are combined. This is why most developers like me switch to dark themes in their dev tools, IDE, or their OS (if it has one). It’s also why popular apps like Twitter, Google, Facebook Messenger, and recently iOS, provide “Dark Mode.” One difficulty is that there’s no one standard for light sensitivity. It varies by person and setting, so it’s impossible to devise one configuration set that works for all light-sensitive people. Solution: Light sensitivity themes Offer “Dark Mode” or a “Light Theme” for your users and allow them to set the brightness, essentially letting them decide for themselves. There are several approaches to achieve this, depending on your technology stack and browser support. A straightforward way is to combine a CSS variable and the CSS invert method: filter: invert(). By defining invert(1), the browser inverts all colors available in your apps to the exact opposite matching colors. /*Define css variable for dark/light mode*/ :root {   –nightMode: 0; } /*Apply the mode change to the whole app on <body>*/ body {   filter: invert(var(–nightMode)); }   This filter effect also applies to all images within the app. You might want to add some code to make sure colors are reserved even in inverted mode (dark or light). Warning: filter is still not supported in IE. If IE support is critical for your app, consider using other approach such as CSS-in-JS (styled components for Vue or for React). Contrast sensitivity Contrast sensitivity occurs where people struggle to read text that is placed over images and videos. This…

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