Accessibility in the online world is about adapting websites and digital resources in ways to remove any barrier from using them, and pays particular attention to simple details that would hinder people with various disabilities to make full use of such online resources. Universal Design keeps the same things in mind, but with a broader focus on the usability for all types of users, recognizing that many accessibility features are useful to people regardless of whether or not they have a disability. In this post, I consider and implement some ways to increase the universal design of this site.

One of the first things is something that is best done as one builds their site and writes posts, which is to make sure images have alternative text. I have done this haphazardly up to this point, and am now updating some of the posts in which I neglected to add alt text so that it does include this for the benefit of those unable to view the images I often include in my posts. This is done easily enough by selecting the image and filling in some text describing the image and its purpose in the alternative text box in the right hand pane.

Beyond adding alternative text, text size, contrast, font, etc. can be issues for those with vision issues, or in the spirit of universal design, anyone who doesn’t like squinting at their screen. To remedy this, I found and installed a plugin to add these features. One Click Accessibility adds a sidebar widget to the site to offer these helpful features.

Finally, part of universal design is not only focussed on accommodating disabilities, but ways to make online content more accessible in general, I took some steps to ensure that this site would display properly not only on the laptop screen I’m currently using, but also on tablets and mobile devices. WordPress lets you toggle which view you are currently working with to help you make sure things appear correctly.

toolbar with viewing toggles circled, phone view selected
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