They have become useful tools for presenting data in an attractive way, but are you considering potential accessibility problems for infographics? (Image credit to Access iQ)
Infographics are certainly becoming more and more popular in recent times, and for good reason too. A good infographic can engage an audience, explain the relationships in the data you are presenting and are useful for content author and audience alike. Often, these images are expertly crafted by talented designers which contain stunning visuals, but are we excluding a portion of our audience by not considering better accessibility practices?
Let’s take a moment to explore the potential issues for people with disabilities.
Blind or vision impaired users are the most affected group, often the image does not have adequate text information to describe what the infographic is attempting to portray. Screen readers for example will only read out the alt-text description and in many cases that information is missing or mislabelled. Use of colours are important factors to consider, In Australia up to 8% of the population is colour blind. That equates to almost one million people. Also, if your infographic is extra detailed or complex, you may find that people with a cognitive disability will have difficulties following along and understanding the information.
So what can be done? What is a reasonable expectation to cater for people with a disability?
Well, by excluding people with a disability you are also denying a potentially sizeable portion of your total audience.
If you want some practical advice, Access iQ have put together a useful guide on How to Create an Accessible Infographic which explains everything in detail. We have embedded their original Web Accessible Infographic below as an example.
Infographics can still look great and convey the same information as in-accessible ones. You may even find that by creating accessible infographics your SEO will be improved at the same time!
The internet is increasingly becoming an indispensable element of everyday life. Director and founder of the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C), Tim Berners-Lee once said: “The power of the web is in its universality. Access by everyone regardless of disability is an essential aspect.”
But can everyone access the web?
Australia has a population of 22,696,000 [ABS 2011] and 89.8 per cent of Australians are internet users [Internet World Stats 2011].
10,721,020 Australians use Facebook, the world’s most powerful social media tool. That’s 49.3 per cent of Australia’s population [Internet World Stats 2011]. But Facebook has a number of accessibility issues which can create a barrier for the vision, hearing and mobility impaired.
Who will be affected by web accessibility?
Have you ever stopped to think what it would be like if you couldn’t access the web?
452,500 Australians are vision impaired and 2,109,700 are completely or partially deaf [ABS 2009]. One in five Australians have a disability, many of whom have difficulty using the web due to poor design or coding.
In 2011, 98 per cent [CAST 2011] of websites failed to meet the W3C’s international Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG 2.0).
The demand for accessibility solutions will only increase with Australia’s ageing population. The number of Australians aged 65 and older is projected to exceed the number of children aged 0-14 by 2025 [ABS 2011].
By 2050, the number of Australians aged 65 – 84 will double and the number of people over 85 will quadruple [ABS 2009].
The prevalence rates of vision and hearing impairment are strongly age-related.
- 65 per cent of all people who are vision impaired are aged 50 and older [Australian Government Intergenerational Report 2010]
- Vision loss is projected to increase by 40 per cent in people over the age of 40 in the next nine years [World Health Organisation]
- Two out of three people over 70 have hearing loss [Listen Hear! The Economic Impact and Cost of Hearing Loss in Australia. Access Economics 2006]
- Less than one per cent of people under 15 have hearing loss [Listen Hear! The Economic Impact and Cost of Hearing Loss in Australia. Access Economics 2006]
One out of six Australians is currently affected by hearing loss [MVIP, BMES, AE-Dem].
With the ageing of the population and the rising noise levels in everyday life, one in four Australians will be affected by hearing loss by 2050. [MVIP, BMES, AE-Dem].
Access iQ™ will equip government and industry with the comprehensive content needed to ensure that everybody can access websites, applications and digital experiences.
An accessible web is a future-proof website.
Visit www.accessiq.org for web accessibility know how.
This infographic is the property of Access iQ™ and may be shared and republished as long as www.accessiq.org is quoted as being the originator.