The WCAG: Accessible Does Not Equal Intuitive
The Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) is a standard, developed by the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C), designed to instruct web developers on how to make their websites accessible to users with disabilities. Although the WCAG does a very good job at detailing best practices for website accessibility, the reality is that no standard, no matter how well designed, can (a) keep up with fast-moving technology trends, and (b) provide guidelines that appropriately accommodate the needs of people with such a wide range of disabilities.
Dictionary.com defines the word “accessible” as something “that can be used, entered, reached, etc.” For our purposes, we will add a follow-up to this definition: “by people with and without disabilities.” If your website is conformant to WCAG 2.0 level AA, then it is, for the most part, “accessible.” A person with or without a disability should be able to go in and easily access the information.
However, when designing a website, you are not simply designing it so that people can access and use the information. You are designing it so that it is easy and intuitive to access the information. Intuitive is defined as “perceiving directly by intuition [or feeling] without rational thought, as a person or the mind.”
When the WCAG is followed, websites are often created to be accessible but not necessarily intuitive. To design a website that is truly intuitive for people with disabilities, it is necessary to have people with disabilities test it. It may pass the WCAG standard, but is it expected that a person with a disability would think to interact with this or that feature in this or that way?
These are questions that we can answer for you here at Accessible360. We have a wealth of experience in this area and can ensure that your website follows the WCAG standard, and is accessible AND intuitive for those who live with disabilities.