6 Tools for Designers to Create Truly Accessible Content

Girijesh Tripathi January 22, 2020
The online sphere has become an indispensable resource for almost every aspect of life, from recreation to education and employment to healthcare and even business. More importantly, it is this online sphere that can help transcend barriers to audio, visual and print media, ensuring accessibility for all. In fact, the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities states that access to information and communications technologies is a basic human right. Needless to say, it is important to ensure that everyone has equal access and equal opportunities, regardless of disability. The Web Accessibility Initiative states that “accessible design improves overall user experience and satisfaction,” with accessibility allowing everyone the ability to perceive, interact, navigate and understand online content, across situations and devices. Apart from the moral, ethical and financial reasons for making online content accessible, it is also a legal requirement. The good news is that there are some very effective tools for designers to create digital accessibility. Here’s a look.  
Tools to Ensure Accessibility
  • Firefox Accessibility Extension
This extension is a Firefox toolbar that helps designers inspect every aspect of a web page and assess its accessibility. A useful feature of the toolbar is the Text Equivalents menu, which enables you to create a list of elements, such as links and images, to determine if they are standard compliant. Third-party applications, such as Link Checker services and W3C HTML Validator, can also be launched directly from the toolbar.
  • Web Accessibility Inspector
Developed by Fujitsu, Web Accessibility Inspector is a desktop application that allows designers to identify web accessibility issues. The application allows you to inspect a specific URL, file or folder. It also has the “View on the screen” option, with which you can view the web page in a browser window. along with markers pointing out elements with accessibility issues.  
Tools for Visual Accessibility
  • Contrast
This is a macOS app that enables designers to determine the contrast ratio of the colors used. It helps in ensuring that digital content is in accordance with the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG). The app is designed to provide immediate feedback to designers, without putting any burden on the design workflow. This app also offers a guide that works as a primer for WCAG accessibility standards.
  • Color Blindness Simulator
Almost one in every 20 people suffers from some form of color blindness. Color Blindness Simulator describes how your digital content or images that are part of the content will appear to someone suffering from color blindness.   
Tools for Accessibility for People with Dyslexia
  • Line Height Adjuster
For people suffering from dyslexia, reading the text in any form, online or print, can be extremely difficult because of poor line-height. Line Height Adjuster is a Chrome plugin that allows you to know how compliant you are with the Text Spacing Guidelines. Using a simple slider, you can adjust the line height to within the accepted range. 
  • Dyslexia Unscrambled
This is a Chrome extension that makes suggestions regarding how to reorganize text blocks to make them more legible for a user with dyslexia. Apart from changing the font, contrast and spacing can also be changed using Dyslexia Unscrambled. These are only some of the many tools available today to ensure accessibility. However, the process of creating accessible websites, apps and digital content of all types can be difficult, unless you have a skilled and experienced team to assist you. This is where Magic EdTech can be of huge help. With over 200 accessibility trained engineers in its design, development and testing teams, Magic EdTech takes great pride in creating content and products that are “born accessible,” while being compliant with the ADA, 508 and WCAG 2.1 standards. In addition, we offer services for accessibility compliance audits, accessibility design and remediation and accessibility testing. We collaborate with people with disabilities right from the conceptualization stage to ensure that every product offers equal accessibility to all, making for truly inclusive content.  

Girijesh Tripathi

As a lead consultant for accessibility testing at Magic EdTech, Girijesh is actively engaged in testing of new class digital accessibility solutions for education.