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Parkinson’s and digital accessibility

Written by Cheryl Swan on

For World Parkinson’s Day, we are sharing tips on how to get the best out of everyday technology. Along with ways that web developers and content creators can aid with building user-friendly and accessible websites.

11 April marks World Parkinson’s Day, an annual event that aims to raise awareness about the difficulties that people living with Parkinson’s experience in daily life. 

Web developers and those responsible for updating content, play an important role in improving the user experience online by striving to remove barriers that can make navigating and interacting with the web a challenge.

What is Parkinson’s?

How to create accessible websites for people living with Parkinson’s

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In the UK, around 153,000 people live with Parkinson’s and it’s the fastest growing neurological condition in the world. As the symptoms of Parkinson’s can be vast, including a range of motor and cognitive disabilities, there are many aspects to consider to help support people when online.

Here are 10 changes to implement which can make a real difference to people’s lives when navigating the digital world:

  • Many people with Parkinson’s experience tremors, making using a mouse difficult. So, it’s important to check that your website is accessible via a keyboard
  • Some people may need longer to process information or complete actions. Removing page timeouts can help with this and reduce users’ feelings of anxiety. 
  • Ensure your platform is accessible with a wide range of assistive technology devices and software.
  • People may experience problems with their memory, so it is important to help steer the user through information and provide prompts on how to complete actions.
  • Use detailed error messaging if information isn’t completed correctly on items such as online forms. Provide an explanation about why the action hasn’t been completed and what needs to be done to eliminate the problem.
  • Use a clear and consistent layout to help build familiarity and diffuse confusion. 
  • Use breadcrumbs to aid with navigation. 
  • Disable distracting features, such as autoplaying videos or moving carousels. 
  • Write with user-friendly, simplistic language that is free from jargon or abbreviations. 
  • Give clickable elements adequate spacing to avoid mistakes when selecting items.

Device setting adjustments that can assist people with Parkinson’s

Nowadays, there is a great deal of additional functionality on devices such as tablets, smartphones, and laptops, which can make interacting online easier.

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The following guidance can assist in adapting your devices and software:

Parkinson’s UK has also put a list of organisations together, which may be of assistance for people with Parkinson’s. 

 Do you require assistance in performing these web changes?

Our team of experts are here to share our accessibility knowledge and help in building an inclusive online world. This can be through consultancy or upskilling inclusive training for developers or content editors.

Get in touch with our team if you would like to talk through options to help you to become accessible.