Equity in Websites: A Heartfelt Approach by Design TLC
Hey there, I’m Tara, and today I’m here to chat about something that’s both a passion and a priority for us at Design TLC: equity in websites. In a world where our digital presence is as crucial as our physical one, it’s vital to ensure that everyone feels seen, heard, and included. This isn’t just a policy; it’s a commitment to making the digital world a better place for all.
Why Equity in Websites Matters
At Design TLC, we believe that a website is more than just a collection of pages and images. It’s a platform that reflects the personality, message, and values of an organization. This holds especially true for the private schools and education-focused nonprofits we work with. These organizations are driven by a mission to uplift, educate, and foster positive change. Their websites should mirror these noble goals.
But what exactly do we mean by ‘equity’ in websites? It’s about creating an online environment where visitors of all backgrounds and abilities can access information, engage with content, and feel represented. It’s about breaking down digital barriers and building bridges of inclusivity.
Imagery and Messaging: A Reflection of Diversity
Imagery is a powerful tool in conveying a message and shaping perception. That’s why we pay special attention to the visual elements we use on our websites. Our aim is to reflect the diverse tapestry of the communities our clients serve.
Each organization we work with at Design TLC is unique, with its own story and personality. Our job is to ensure that their websites are not just digital brochures, but dynamic platforms that truly encapsulate their spirit.
The Importance of Accessibility
A key aspect of website equity is accessibility. Did you know that around 15% of the world’s population experiences some form of disability? This highlights the need for accessible web design, which is becoming more and more prominent as a topic in website design and development. It’s not just about complying with standards; it’s about respecting and valuing every visitor’s experience.
The landscape of web accessibility and equity is ever-evolving. At Design TLC, we are committed to staying on top of the latest developments, guidelines, and best practices. We strive to help our websites conform to the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) as much as possible. This means considering elements like color contrast, text readability, keyboard navigation, and screen reader compatibility. It’s a complex process, but one that speaks volumes about our commitment to inclusivity.
The Evolving Landscape of Accessibility Standards
The standards and guidelines for web accessibility have evolved significantly in recent years. These changes reflect a growing understanding of diverse needs and the importance of digital inclusivity. We strongly recommend that website owners regularly review and update their sites to remediate any accessibility issues. Key areas to focus on include:
- Color Contrast: Ensure that there is sufficient contrast between text and background colors.
- Link Actions and Labels: Links should be clearly labeled and navigable, with a preference for most external links to open in the same tab.
- Accessibility and Navigation: Incorporate features like keyboard navigation and screen reader compatibility.
- Legal Compliance: Organizations receiving federal grant money are required to comply with ADA standards.
A Word on Overlays and Widgets
It’s worth mentioning that some websites may try to use overlays or widgets as a shortcut to improve accessibility. However, feedback from the disability community indicates that these tools can actually make navigation more challenging. People with accessibility needs often find these plugins and overlays to hinder rather than help their experience. Therefore, at Design TLC, we don’t recommend relying on these as viable solutions. True accessibility needs to be woven into the fabric of the website’s design, not added as an afterthought.
Embracing Accessibility as an Ongoing Journey
Achieving full compliance with web accessibility standards can be challenging. While it may be difficult to reach 100% compliance, there are numerous improvements that can be made on most websites. At Design TLC, we view this as an ongoing journey, constantly seeking ways to enhance accessibility and inclusivity in our designs.
In a nutshell, our approach at Design TLC is not just about building websites; it’s about crafting digital experiences that embody the values and aspirations of the organizations we work with. We believe that every organization, especially those with a mission to uplift and educate, deserves a website that speaks to every visitor.
Remember, a website is more than just a tool; it’s a statement. It’s a reflection of who you are and what you stand for. At Design TLC, we’re here to ensure that this reflection is as inclusive, accessible, and resonant as possible.