The global pandemic of COVID-19 shook us to our core and led to significant changes in our daily lives. Remote work, virtual meetings, and online learning are no new phenomena and greatly impact how we work, learn, and socially interact with others.
With more people working and learning remotely, there has also been a drastic change and increase in the use of the internet, online tools, and digital apparatuses. Consequently, as a response to this increased usage, the importance of improved web accessibility solutions has also been highlighted.
The forced evolution of web accessibility trends post-COVID-19 has been a blessing in disguise for people with visual, auditory, motor, and cognitive impairments. Web accessibility is now an additional feature but a rather important element for websites, web pages, and digital apparatuses.
If you are also looking for web accessibility solutions for your business or website, you are in the right place. Below are 6 web accessibility trends for 2023 that will make your website more accessible and inclusive.
However, before we jump into web accessibility trends for 2023, let us first understand what web accessibility is.
What is Web Accessibility?
Web accessibility refers to making a webpage or website accessible for users with cognitive and motor impairments. It also includes presenting the content on the webpage in a way that can be easily comprehended and navigated by everyone, with or without a disability.
One way to check if a web page is accessible for people with impairments and disabilities is by ensuring that it can be used by people with disabilities the same way people use it without disabilities.
Apart from the business perspective, legal and ethical standpoints now make it mandatory for web pages to follow web accessibility protocols. This ensures each user gets an equal opportunity to interact with your content, creating an opportunity for wider audience engagement.
Web Accessibility Trends for 2023
Strict Adoption of Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) WCAG, or Web Content Accessibility Guidelines, refers to the set of guidelines and protocols developed by the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) to ensure all webpages and websites are accessible for people with impairments and disabilities.
All the guidelines and rules are organized according to three levels of conformance: A, AA, and AAA. Additionally, the guidelines cover four basic principles in accordance with the elements of a web page, perceivable, operable, understandable, and robust.
Some of the examples of the WCAG 2.1 guideline are:
- Audio and video content must have subtitles and transcripts to ensure people with hearing impairments can understand the content.
- All the functionalities of the webpage must be operable through the keyboard. This ensures that users unable to use a mouse because of limited motor functions can still interact with the web content.
- Allow users to choose the desirable font size and layout. This ensures that users with partial visual impairment can adjust the content according to their specific needs and engage more thoroughly.
You can visit the official page of WCAG to know about the other guidelines and design your web pages and websites accordingly.
More Interactive Mobile Experience
Statistics reveal that there are currently 6 billion mobile users globally, which is expected to reach 7.6 billion by the end of 2027. Therefore, it is high time that designers prioritize the mobile experience and the desktop experience.
With the growth of 5G technology, the usage of mobile phones will continue to grow. Users use smartphones for online shopping, booking tickets, creating content, and other business-related needs.
Therefore, web developers must focus on mobile web accessibility and its crucial aspects like small screen optimization, touch-based navigation, slow internet connection, etc.
Utilizing Machine Learning
Machine learning refers to using artificial intelligence to allow computer systems to improve user experience. There are numerous types of machine learning, like supervised machine learning, unsupervised machine learning, semi-supervised machine learning, and reinforcement learning.
Based on the need, convenience of use, and preferences, web developers can utilize any of these machine learning algorithms to identify and fix issues.
Machine learning also allows developers to save time and increase productivity by letting the algorithms do their job while focusing on other pressing tasks that can’t be automated.
Lastly, with proper implementation and usage of machine learning, it is possible to automatically create alternative texts for images and make them more accessible for people with visual impairments.
AI-powered chatbots can be understood as another aspect of machine learning and can greatly enhance the user experience. They can answer people’s questions and concerns accurately and quickly while engaging with web pages. They have been known to be highly successful for e-commerce websites as well.
Additionally, they can help businesses save time and money by automating customer service tasks, such as answering frequently asked questions, directing users to relevant information or resources, and even completing transactions.
Features like text-to-speech, keyboard navigation, response time management, etc., can be combined with these AI-powered chatbots to establish their role as a web accessibility solution.
Virtual and Augmented Reality
Another important web accessibility trend in 2023 is using virtual and augmented reality technologies to create more immersive and accessible experiences.
With these technologies, businesses, and organizations are now also focussing on personalized learning for employees, training and development, and much more.
Virtual and augmented reality assimilation with web accessibility solutions will not only allow users with disabilities to practice an immersive and engaging web experience but also learn from it. Some of the benefits of virtual and augmented reality for people with disabilities are:
- Improved interaction and communication
- Development of social skills
- Sensory improvement
- Opportunity to convey ideas and thoughts better
Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
Search Engine Optimization, or SEO, is a popular web accessibility trend as it ensures that a webpage is properly optimized and structured. It is also known to improve the overall usability and navigability of the site for users with disabilities.
SEO takes into the ambit various elements like using proper heading tags, alt text for images, creating a clear and consistent site hierarchy, etc.
As 60% of marketers believe that SEO is the most important and well-performing lead generation source, it is smart to combine it with web accessibility solutions.
Web accessibility trends should be a critical tool for consideration for individuals, businesses, corporate offices, and organizations as we enter 2023. However, if you need help with the same, do not worry!
You can visit HurixDigital and allow us to help you with all your web accessibility needs. Along with web accessibility solutions, we offer various services like digital content transformation, digital content solutions, cloud service management, and much more.
Get in touch with our expert team to get started.