Skip to main content

In the world of UX design, accessibility – the accessibility of digital products for people with different abilities – is an indispensable aspect. It is no longer just an optional extra, but an essential component that ensures that websites, apps and other digital tools can be used by everyone. The European Accessibility Act (EAA) has further underlined the importance of this issue at European level by aiming to standardize accessible products and services on the market and improve accessibility for people with disabilities in all areas of life.

Accessibility in UX design is not a question of ability, but of desire - we don't design for the majority, but for everyone.

Norbert Kathriner

What is accessibility in UX design?

Accessibility in UX design refers to the practice of designing and developing digital products in such a way that they are accessible and usable for people with disabilities. This includes visual impairments, hearing impairments, motor impairments and cognitive impairments, but also temporary restrictions or situational challenges that users may encounter.

The importance of accessibility

By harmonizing accessibility requirements across EU member states under the EAA, accessibility significantly extends the reach of a product and improves the user experience for all. Compliance with the harmonized European standard EN 301 549, based on the WCAG 2.1 guidelines, is central to this. These standards emphasize that digital products must be perceivable, operable, understandable and robust to ensure complete accessibility.

Advantages of an accessible design

  • Increased reach: Products that are accessible to people with various disabilities appeal to a much larger target group.
  • Improved usability: Accessibility guidelines promote clearer and simpler interfaces that improve the user experience for everyone.
  • Legal compliance: Compliance with legal requirements, such as the European Accessibility Act, helps to prevent discrimination and promotes an inclusive society.

Challenges and solutions

While integrating accessibility into the design process requires specific knowledge and a potentially longer development time, these challenges can be overcome through early planning, continuous testing and the involvement of people with disabilities. A user-centered design that takes accessibility principles into account from the outset is the key to success here.

Universal Design as a pioneer

The universal design approach – design for all – plays a central role in the creation of accessible digital products and services. This approach assumes that designing for people with disabilities makes life easier for a broader user group, including those who are temporarily or situationally affected by limitations.

  • Barriers can be permanent, temporary or situational. They range from people who are completely blind to colorblind and people with low vision. Of course, it is not just about visual impairments, but also about deaf people, people with limited mobility or cognitive impairments.

Accessibility guide for UX designers

  • Create user personas
  • Develop for all platforms and devices
  • Organize the content logically
  • Ensure consistency in the design
  • Use accessible fonts
  • Choose appropriate color contrast
  • Add alt text for media content
  • Offer transcriptions and subtitles
  • Avoid excessive animation
  • Ensure meaningful anchor text
  • Use appropriate headings and HTML tags
  • Make the design screen-reader friendly
  • Add keyboard shortcuts
  • Use accessibility tools
  • Test with different users

Conclusion: More than just a nice-to-have.

Accessibility in UX design is far more than just a nice-to-have; it is a fundamental requirement that ensures digital products can be used by everyone, regardless of individual ability. By implementing the European Accessibility Act and focusing on universal design, we create inclusive experiences that make the digital world more accessible and usable for everyone. The time to act is now – to make our digital products fit for the future and promote a fully inclusive digital society.