Why accessible design matters

Fear of the unknown

Accessible design is one of those terms that the uninitiated seem to fear as an oxymoron. However, we are at a point now where pretending that accessibility in design doesn’t matter is absolutely not viable and risks limiting your potential audience greatly.

The two sides of the fence?

For many years, it was a prevailing thought that PDF was a visual medium. Print was the main distribution channel for designed documents, and everything came down to how beautiful something was.

Then there are tagged PDF documents, set up so that those with low vision can use assisting technologies such as screen readers to access their information. While this is useful for screen-reader users and those with 20/20 vision, what about all of those people with milder visual difficulties?

Who does accessibility really impact?

Those who wore glasses, the elderly, the very young, those with degenerative vision, those who are reading in their second language, those with learning difficulties… all of these people (and many more like them) still need to be able to read and appreciate your document.

Accessible design is about one thing – inclusion. If you have something worth saying, why not say it so everyone can understand? Long gone are the days where print is the only format that matters. Even then, people are far more likely to read something that is easy to read.

Information for the future

The more we look at screens as a society, the worse our eyesight gets. The harder it is to see, the less information that isn’t accessible you’ll be able to take in. Let’s face it, convenience and digital versions of information is the way of the future. Future-proofing your information means making it easier to understand.

So the question becomes this. Do you want someone to look at your document, or do you want them to read it?

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