When designing, it is important to build bridges from design towards accessibility, in order to satisfy the users’ with disabilities needs and build inclusive and accessible products.
How can we build this bridge? Obviously, by going through an efficient IA, as we are going to see below.
The Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) is an international set of 76 criteria focusing on how to make web content accessible. These guidelines cover a wide range of topics, including: text alternatives for non-text content, keyboard accessibility, colour contrast, and error handling.
Ensuring digital accessibility is an ethical obligation that guarantees equal access to all users, while also mitigating legal and financial risks associated with non-compliance with accessibility standards. It fosters inclusivity and diversity, resulting in a better user experience and customer satisfaction.
WCAG are organised into four categories: Perceivable, Operable, Understandable, and Robust. Each criteria is assigned a level of conformance, ranging from A (minimum level of accessibility) to AA (intermediate) to AAA (highest).
These guidelines refer to a variety of stakeholders, but WCAG can present comprehension challenges due to technical terminology, articulated organisation, and complex syntax, which may pose difficulties for designers during the entire web product life-cycle.
A clear information architecture is essential to understand the content within WCAG. Easily navigating them could significantly enhance their sensemaking, streamline their evaluation, and promote better compliance with accessibility standards.
In our speech we will propose different approaches to (re)classify the WCAG information architecture. We have analysed the WCAG categorization and examined how alternative approaches could enhance simplicity for stakeholders. As a final stage of our research, we have tested our proposals involving directly the final users.
Providing multiple architectural organisational paradigms for WCAG content, such as a task-oriented approach or role-based responsibility, is a bridge improving their usage and consultation.