We typically describe digital accessibility as the design of products with specific regard for people who experience disabilities. That’s not wrong, but it would be more accurate to say that accessibility is about making sure everyone has access. How we get there is the trick, but it begins with an accounting of the many, many different ways visitors experience and need to interact with each website or application. The internet is used by everyone, and should be built for everyone.
Leading edge cancer researchers iTeos Therapeutics chose to partner with Owl’s Head in part for our leadership in that very field: internet accessibility. (And in part for our ability to make beautiful things, of course.) In addition to a full-scale brand redesign, we focused on a dynamic, accessible website that is easy to use by everyone, whether they employ assistive technologies or visual, hearing, motor, and/or cognitive impairments, or are engaging with the website on devices, on the go.
Those many considerations make for a better user experience, and with roughly one billion people worldwide living with disabilities, making websites that are accessible to all is not just basic human decency, it’s good business.
Here are some prime examples of accessibility at work on the iTeos website:
Consistent components = great affordances
An affordance is a design element that clearly announces its purpose, and keeping them consistent sitewide makes getting around intuitive and enjoyable. For example: See a rotating arrow anywhere on the site? You know you’ve got yourself a link. If you see a little down-pointing arrow, you know that a submenu awaits.
Keyboard navigability, every which way
Many internet users don’t use a mouse or touchscreen, instead navigating with keyboard keys (or cool technologies like screen readers, software that reads the website aloud, and responds to keyboard control). The iTeos website is specially built with these users in mind, fully navigable and understandable without so much as a single swipe or press of your thumb.
Easy touch targets
With roughly half of world wide web traffic via mobile devices, a great number of users regularly experience the frustration of trying to click on buttons and links that require entirely too much precision for their hands. Poor touch targets would be to blame for all of those errant or failed clicks, but on the iTeos website, all clickable elements were created with a healthy minimum space, especially useful for older users and those with mobility issues.
Accessible color scheme
The use of color can make or break a brand’s identity and visual language; it’s also incredibly important in the accessibility world: color combinations that do not meet contrast standards are unacceptably difficult to read by users with low or impaired vision, folks with color-blindness, and anyone outside on their phone on a sunny day. The color scheme on the iTeos website is easy on the eyes, in many ways.
Alternative text for screen readers
Color matters for sighted users; words matter for non-sighted users. iTeos is built to ensure meaningful information that’s presented visually is also available as text. So whether that’s a photo of a patient or a complex medical illustration, a description is readily available to screen reader technology, ensuring that content and context is accessible to all.
Anywhere you find a link on the iTeos site, you know where it’s going to take you, and won’t need to go backward and forward looking for more context on “read more” links. Each link text is clear and descriptive—”explore our clinical trials”, “join the iteos team”, “get information on partnering”—and this too is key for screen readers: All of the significance and utility of the link is right there in the text.
Reach out to us if you would like to learn more, discuss an accessibility audit for your own website, or have us design your next great (accessible) website.