Beacon Accessibility Standards Overview

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Beacon Accessibility Standards Overview

by | Aug 10, 2023 | Accessibility

Tags: Accessibility, Graphic Design

Beacon Accessibility Standards Overview

By: Dani Vachon    //    Posted on: 10-08-2023

When technology constantly evolves, we must ensure everyone can access and enjoy digital content. Whether it’s websites or digital documents, Beacon believes everyone deserves an equal opportunity to engage with these platforms.

The Beacon Design Collective always strives to ensure that the digital content we create for our clients is inclusive and usable for people of all abilities. That’s why we created a Beacon Accessibility Standards document. We adhere to them to create digital experiences that are not only beautiful but also inclusive and welcoming.

If we have the opportunity to work together in the future (I am excited about that possibility!), this is an excellent place to start. This guide gives you a clear picture of the accessibility features we offer.

What is accessibility?

A child is looking at a laptop screen.

In design, accessibility applies to the form, function, and design of a document or other product that features images and/or text. When a document is accessible, it has been created to be more easily readable by individuals with disabilities. These disabilities may include but are not limited to, vision impairment, blindness, colour blindness, dyslexia, and cognitive impairment.

According to the 2017 Canadian Survey on Disability, 5.4% of Canadians aged 15 years and older report having a visual disability, while 5.1% of Canadians aged 15+ years living with a disability report having a developmental disability or disorder (2017 Canadian Survey on Disability).

People living with disabilities may make use of a variety of software and hardware to assist them in viewing documents and other resources. Correctly incorporating accessibility features helps these tools to effectively communicate the content of your document to people with disabilities.

Our minimum accessibility features

Accessibility features that we include in all our work are as follows:

  • Alt text: hidden text that describes images for screen readers
  • Descriptive links: ensuring links are clearly explained in text
  • Fonts: minimum sizes, legible styles
  • Contrast: adhering to WCAG ratios
  • Styles: tagging text for screenreader
  • Tables: structure & text tagging for screen readers
  • Charts and infographics: adding alt text to describe the image; using appropriate differentiators (aside from just colour)
  • Layering: setting an appropriate reading order for screen readers
  • Testing: running all documents through screen readers and accessibility testing software

How can you help with accessibility?

Copy (written content)

If you are providing content and do not request our writing or editing services, you can increase accessibility by making sure that you write using plain language and a style that is clear and appropriate to your target audience.

For example, if you are writing to a general audience, it is best practice to write at a grade 9-11 reading level. To test your reading level, you can use this free online tool.

Remember that reading level is not a determination of the intelligence of the audience. By writing to a lower grade level, we are increasing reading ease. We are not “dumbing down” content, we are simplifying it. This is an important distinction to make.

Visual content

If you provide us with images to include in your document, we will create alt text to describe what is in the images. If you would like readers who have visual impairments to know important details (that are not immediately obvious in the image), please provide information like:

  • The name of the person(s) in the picture
  • Their title (if important)
  • The location where the picture was taken

Do you need additional accessibility features?

A man removes his glasses while looking at his smartphone.

Sometimes clients have other accessibility requests. We are happy to consider it.

If you would like us to include other accessibility features, let us know. We will determine if they are viable and provide a cost estimate.

If you’re looking for assistance with your own creative process or seeking visual solutions for your projects, we can help!