It’s actually a bit ironic that this blog is about web design for autism. In truth, nearly everything we’ll talk about below is actually good advice for virtually any kind of website. However, autism-friendly web design is certainly of major importance for all autism treatment centers.
Designing for users with autism is clearly a necessity. Like everyone else, young adults with diagnosed ASD are on their smartphones every day. It’s up to you to make sure your web design for autism doesn’t make their online experience frustrating or confusing.
What’s the best way to proceed when you need autism treatment center marketing agency services? Here are five things to keep in mind when trying to create an autism-friendly design:
1. Plain, Conversational Language is Always Best
In truth, we tend to use things like idioms while speaking and writing a lot more than we think we do (just ask anyone who has to translate English into other languages). Unfortunately, idioms can present an enormous roadblock for people with autism.
ASD patients have a tendency to take many figures of speech quite literally. Therefore, casually writing something like “every cloud has a silver lining” can be quite problematic.
In web design for autism, it’s always best to create pages and blogs in the clearest (and plainest) language possible. For example, write “it’s raining heavily” rather than “it’s raining cats and dogs.”
In general, avoid using metaphors and ambiguous verbiage as well as phrases that have more than one meaning. We use these without thinking. However, it’s best to eliminate these things to make reading comprehension easier for people on the spectrum.
Institutional jargon should also be avoided. You aren’t creating autism treatment marketing content for your website to please other autism professionals. You’re writing for prospective adult patients and their families.
It’s easy for people who aren’t autism professionals to be confused by the industry jargon you commonly use every day. Try to avoid this in your web design for autism.
2. Long Sentences Are Bad. Bullets Are Good.
Long sentences and especially long paragraphs are like a threat to someone with autism. In truth, they aren’t much better for the rest of us either. Essentially, long sentences and paragraphs fairly scream, “Go away” to anyone with ASD.
- Shorter sentences and paragraphs are always the way to go. Visually, they are simply more inviting to readers, regardless of whether they are on the autism spectrum or not.
- Break content down into easily digestible bullet lists (like we’re doing right now!). This also helps those who skim articles to more easily get the general idea of the content.
Infographics may be another tool to help readers more easily understand some information or concepts. Naturally, many visitors to your website won’t be on the spectrum. However, it’s likely they are lazy readers (as are most of us online). It’s important to make information as easy to digest as possible.
Web designers for autism treatment centers should always plan for content that is easy to comprehend, regardless of who is reading it.
3. Make It Clear What Buttons Are For
A button on a web page should never be just a button. An unlabeled button or one with a vague description about what happens when you click it is highly problematic. After all, it could lead anywhere. Consequently, such a button can cause stress or anxiety for people with autism.
Would you click on links if you weren’t sure what was going to happen when you did? A vaguely labeled button is no different. All web navigation should be crystal clear about where you’re headed.
4. Does Your Video Content Present Hidden Challenges?
Video content always helps your website. However, how you present it matters:
- Maintain good audio: Poor sounding audio makes it that much harder to concentrate on what’s being said. Voices should be clear at all times. No rooms where voices echo and no microphones placed too far away from the subject.
- Add captions: Seeing what’s being said as well as hearing it always helps to reinforce viewer comprehension. That’s true for people with or without autism.
5. Be Careful With Web Interfaces
The average viewer might not think twice about a form to be filled out online. Viewers with autism, however, might run into all kinds of obstacles that other people would never imagine are obstacles.
For example, a form field that wouldn’t get a second glance from the average viewer might be a problem for ASD viewers. Why? It could be something as simple as slightly irregular spacing between labels and input boxes. As a result, be sure to eliminate anything asymmetrical on your website when designing for users with autism.
Is Your Web Design For Autism Effective?
When you’re designing for users with autism, there are guidelines you should definitely follow. Fortunately, virtually all of the preceding tips apply to people who aren’t on the spectrum at all.
It’s time to step up and work with an autism website developer that understands your unique needs. Dreamscape Marketing, a leader in the healthcare industry, has the deep experience needed for the task.
Our web design for autism means you can reach your target audience more effectively. Contact us today at 888.307.7304 to find out more.