As a technology-driven company, Aer Lingus strives to promote the best development and design practices across our digital platforms. In recent years, one of the disciplines we have been especially pro-active in is designing for Accessibility & Inclusivity.
Our mission is to design and develop websites and mobile applications that ensure all users have equal access to information and functionality. Our digital platforms should support visual, hearing, cognitive and physical impairments by implementing inclusive web design features and best-practices.
What is Accessibility & Inclusivity?
Accessibility is the ability of a system or environment to accommodate the needs and preferences of each individual.
Inclusion is probably easier understood when you consider its opposite – Exclusion. Exclusion means creating barriers and deliberately segregating groups of users. Focusing only on most or some of our guests neglects other users and goes against our vision of providing an accessible and inclusive digital experience.
Why does this effect Aer Lingus?
As designers and researchers, it’s our job to understand user needs. Poor or inconsiderate design can disable and exclude some users. We should therefore design inclusive, disability-neutral digital experiences which are accessible for all users.
As well as being the correct and responsible thing to do, designing for accessibility is also a compliance issue;
Aer Lingus fly to and from the United States. We are therefore subject to US Department of Transport regulations. Under the US Air Carriers Accessibility Act which came into effect on December 12th 2016, all parts of the AerLingus.com domain and all publicly accessible communications must conform to Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.1 AA standard. This applies to all print, web, native app and inflight media.
How do we design for Accessibility & Inclusivity?
The Aer Lingus Accessibility Team works closely with design and development teams to make sure we are delivering the most accessible user experiences possible. We should adopt the WCAG recommended P.O.U.R. principles. These are industry standard for accessible digital design and means that our digital environment should be;
Can I see it? Can I hear it? Can I feel it?
Perceivability means the user can identify content and interface elements by means of the senses, so all information, expected actions and user controls should be presented to users in a way that is clear and understandable.
Can I scroll it? Can I move it? Can I navigate away from it?
Operability means that a user can successfully use controls, buttons, navigation, and other necessary interactive elements. UI components should be navigable from keyboard and available to people who access information in a non-standard way.
Can I read it? Can I understand it? Can I predict how it will behave?
Users should be able to comprehend the content, and learn and remember how to use the interface.
Content should be presented in a way that is easy to read and understand;
- Make content readable (font size / colour contrast)
- Make language understandable (avoid jargon, complicated language and inverted phrasing)
- Make webpages appear and operate in a predictable way
Does it meet basic standards to be compatible with assistive technologies?
Controls and content must be robust enough to be interpreted reliably by a wide range of assistive technologies. We should maximise the compatibility of our website with standard assistive technologies.