In today’s digital age, websites have become an essential aspect of communication and information dissemination. However, a significant portion of the population comprises individuals with neurodivergent conditions, such as autism, dyslexia, ADHD, executive functioning impairments, and other cognitive disabilities. To ensure inclusivity and reach to a broader audience, it is vital for website creators to design their platforms with neurodivergent accessibility and user-friendliness in mind. Let’s explore some key considerations and strategies I will try to use to make this website more inclusive and welcoming to neurodivergent users.
I will incorporate a sensory-friendly design. Sensory overload is a common challenge for individuals with neurodivergent conditions. To create a sensory-friendly website, I avoid excessive use of bright colors, flashing animations, or autoplaying videos. Instead, I have opted for a clean and simple design with consistent and predictable color patterns and page layouts. I use the same font type and sizes across the entire site.
I have created clear and concise content. Ensuring that the website’s content is clear, concise, and easy to comprehend. I use plain language whenever possible and avoid jargon or ambiguous phrases. I have broken down complex ideas and information into smaller, more manageable sections with clear headings and subheadings. I utilize bullet points and lists to present information in an organized manner.
The website has consistent navigation menus and directions for use. A consistent navigation system helps neurodivergent users to familiarize themselves with your website’s layout quickly. Use logical menus and avoid unnecessary complexity. Implement a breadcrumb trail and ensure that buttons and links are visually distinguishable. Providing an option to skip repetitive content (e.g., navigation bars) can be beneficial for users who have difficulty processing such elements. I have created a page with a navigation map to the entire website with pathways to all the content.
WordPress and Dreamhost recently updated the servers which has resulted in optimized page loading times. Reducing loading times is beneficial for all users, but it’s particularly important for neurodivergent individuals who may struggle with waiting or become frustrated by delays. I have optimized image sizes, utilized caching techniques, and employed a reliable web hosting service to enhance website performance.
In the future, I will build in allowances for multiple input methods. I will build in different input methods, as some neurodivergent users may have challenges with traditional mouse and keyboard interactions. I will make sure the website is navigable using keyboard-only inputs and is compatible with screen readers (text to voice) and voice commands (speech to text). Additionally, I will be offering alternative CAPTCHA options to benefit users with reading difficulties.
The website is intuitive and provides predictable feedback. Neurodivergent users may require reassurance that their actions are recognized and understood by the website. The website provides clear and predictable feedback for user interactions, such as button clicks and form submission confirmations. The website has visible cues; color changes and brief messages to acknowledge successful actions.
Designing a neurodivergent accessible and user-friendly website involved thoughtful consideration of various elements, including sensory-friendly design, clear content, consistent navigation, optimized load times, and multiple input methods. By prioritizing inclusivity and understanding the needs of neurodivergent users, this website can foster a more positive online experience for a broader audience. Embracing neurodivergent accessibility not only enhances user satisfaction but also reflects my commitment in doing my part to create a more compassionate and inclusive digital world.