Accessability - »good tone« or »necessary evil«?
What does a website have to look like so that it can be easily captured and used by all people? What needs to be considered so that a website is as barrier-free as possible?
Low-barrier accessibility is an important and multifarious topic in web design, which affects not only programming, but also design, editing and the concept itself. In projects, we follow the official catalogue of the BITV 2.0 regulation as often as possible and can implement both priority 1 and priority 2 measures.
The fact that we certainly have large gaps here on our own site a) falls into the category »The shoemaker's son always goes barefoot« and b) is due to the balancing act of giving as much technical importance as possible to accessibility, but also showing off a little. Acceptable or not? Feel free to write us your opinion.
Principle of Operation
Prior to the barrier-free implementation of the web project, a goal must be defined. What level of accessibility do you want to achieve and what measures can be taken to achieve it? Many of the necessary steps in the BITV catalogue have a restrictive effect on freedom in concept, design and programming. The parameters must be conscious and understood to justify the restrictions. In addition, the level of accessibility may vary depending on whether a certification is required or a certain criteria must be met. Once the goal has been defined, the measures can be implemented.
Low-barrier websites have not only been technically optimised. At least half of all necessary measures are implemented through a comprehensible and clean conception as well as through certain design principles and content forms supporting each other. On the other hand, the technical components are mainly necessary for compatibility with assistive technologies.
We distinguish between three packages for the implementation, whereby package one contains basic web standards that every web project must have anyway. E.g.
- well structured HTML
- basic keyboard operability
- sensibly set ARIA attributes
- meta descriptions and alt tags
- avoidance of unfavourable contrast ratios
- comprehensible navigation structure
Package two contains features such as a high contrast control which are offered separately.
- contrast control in the front end
- substitute media formats (subtitles, sign language, transcriptions)
- 2-way navigation
- refined keyboard operability and focus management
- individual focus styling
Package three includes all features that require a high level of optimisation and are usually accompanied by user testing.
- screen reader optimisation
- user testing and certification
- tightened parameters on package 1 and 2
While package 1 is included as a standard in the regular project costs, package 2 is offered as a flat charge. Package 3, on the other hand, cannot be estimated without a final design and concept and is discounted on a time and material basis.
In cooperation with appropriate offices and partners, we can have websites tested and certifications issued.
For some projects, meeting the BITV standard and obtaining certificates does not guarantee success. And indeed, the BITV catalogue allows a high degree of interpretation. However, this also means that the quality margin can be very large for the end user despite compliance with the regulation. This form of optimisation can be countered in the follow-up with user tests, the results of which flow into the amendment.
To achieve BITV certification, »simple language« is not required, but regarding inclusive web design it brings an advantage and is therefore strongly recommended. Content in simple language is not fully congruent with regular languages, so simple language cannot be understood as a real language switcher, but rather as a subpage.
The reason: Simple language not only translates content, but also condenses and shortens it, making it easier to understand. The most important key points are broken down into a few sentences. In most cases, the prevailing website concept no longer works and the content is moved to a separate page.
For the production of simple language special training is required. In this context, we work with partner offices that have this qualification. After being transposed, the content must be checked by the original creator for content accuracy.