What accessibility means to us

From Grace Jun, OSL’s CEO

Disability is a very real part of being. Whether beginning at birth, resulting from an accidental injury, or occurring while simply growing older, we are always subject to short-term and long-term disability—especially as the average life expectancy continues to increase. With a disposable income of $8 trillion, this marginalized market is not nearly considered or addressed as much as it should be by major brands, businesses, and society as a whole. Title III of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) is interpreted to include websites as “places of public accommodation,“ therefore all websites should be accessible. At Open Style Lab, we believe there is a need now more than ever to examine this reality and began with making our own website more accessible. Accessible design is better design.

From Labud, OSL’s website designers

Accessibility was at the forefront of our design process for Open Style Lab’s website. We wanted to make the experience easy to understand for all users, regardless of ability, while still maintaining an editorial point of view.

We first started exploring what facilitates a frictionless experience. Through our research legibility, scale, and language became prominent themes that promoted ease of use across different audiences.

The scale of the website is huge – ranging from the typography to the photos. This helps expose the contents of the site and make it easy to read for many people without additional effort. Language helps audiences of various educational backgrounds, too. Since design can be exclusionary, we developed a system of modules that highlight key details of the experience and suggested plain text as the guiding tone of voice for the site.

Language also helps provide a clear experience for visually impaired users who rely on audio controls and commands. We incorporated descriptive alt text and suggested expressive captions to add visual references for those who cannot see them. We also created a custom video module that plays a short clip and utilizes native HTML video captions layered on top, to add movement and provide context to the clip, and help provide an accessible and fun experience.

We emphasized scale and legibility in the interactions across the website, as well. User interface elements are exaggerated, and both hover and active states are highlighted to provide obvious user feedback.

Open Style Lab’s website is designed with the goal of being WCAG AA compliant.

This website

The Open Style Lab website was designed and developed by Nika Simovich Fisher and Dylan Fisher of Labud. It is typeset in Circular and built on Forest, Labud’s Ruby on Rails CMS.