Digital accessibility for websites, software, mobile applications and documents, can be tricky for those of us living with mental health disorders. Mental illnesses can make it difficult to focus on, process, and understand information. This can create challenges for people navigating websites that are not tailored to our content management and design needs.
As the world strives to become more welcoming of mental illness and neurodiversity, it’s important to begin to frame mental health accessibility as a priority in digital development work. Now more than ever it’s crucial for us to be aware of ways we can make digital products more accessible for people living with mental illnesses.
Mental Health Accessibility Techniques
The Word Wide Web Consortium (W3C) outlines Web Content Accessibility Guidelines that can help make digital products more accessible for individuals with cognitive disabilities, including mental illnesses. The following summarizes these guidelines recommended by W3C:
- Content should be readable and easily understood
- Ensure users can adapt the content to a simpler layout while maintaining all information and structure
- Give users enough time to complete time-sensitive tasks
- Ensure users can navigate the content easily and determine where they are
- Incorporate assistance to help users avoid and correct mistakes
- Content and web pages should appear in a predictable order
Note on Depression
According to the World Health Organization, depression affects around 264 million people worldwide and is one of the main causes of disability worldwide. Not only that, but the prevalence of depression and anxiety has increased 25% within the first year of the COVID-19 pandemic.
People living with mental health disabilities are often overlooked when it comes to creating an digitally accessible products. Making websites that are straightforward, adaptable, and intuitive can remedy that and foster inclusion.
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