Free Guidelines for Accessible Design

Public services need to serve all the public. Not all the public are digitally savvy adults between the ages of 18 and 35 with perfect eyesight, hearing, and mobility. Accessible design ensures those with limited hearing, sight, mobility, and other impairments can access the public information and services that they need and pay for.

Designing Services Accessible to All

With the social distancing needed to fight the Covid-19 pandemic, more and more public services are becoming digital to help people avoid social interactions. One example that’s dominated news coverage is schools flocking to offer online instruction instead of having kids in classrooms. 

And services that can’t be completely digital may now require setting an appointment and completing paperwork online. Recently, I renewed my driver’s license in part to meet the US federal Real ID guidelines. My appointment was in-person, but I needed to make an appointment online and upload digital copies of documents.

Free Resources for Accessible Design

In the US, Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act outlines accessibility requirements for information and communication technology. The government provides websites for creating and testing accessible information. The requirements cover many formats for information: documents, spreadsheets, websites, presentations, videos, even social media.

The United Kingdom’s Home Office Digital group has a great set of posters with accessible design guidelines for creating digital experiences for users with a wide range of abilities. One poster is shown at the top of this post. You can get these free posters by visiting this page and clicking the Download button.

Walking the Walk

I’ll admit to ignoring accessible design in much of my work. This website would likely flunk many accessibility tests. I simply haven’t taken the time to learn and apply the necessary design principles.

Writing this post in one step for me in the direction of learning more and doing better. Maybe you can join me.


(Image courtesy of UK Home Office Digital)



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