Feelings of shame are often part and parcel of addiction. As a result, many people struggling with substance abuse or walking the long road of recovery find it difficult to speak about their experiences and ask for help. This makes the internet a valuable tool, which can offer a wealth of resources to help people find the services they need to support them through the recovery process. It’s crucial, therefore, that these resources are fully accessible, easy to navigate, and welcome a range of people, some of whom may find the internet difficult to navigate. So what should online resource sites be doing to ensure complete accessibility to those who need them?
Clarity Is Crucial
Any website offering resources to those who need support should be designed with inclusivity at the center, catering to the needs of those with disabilities and varying skill sets. This means that sites must be easy to navigate and simple to understand, and include options to adjust the font size according to need. Links to resources and internal navigation buttons should be clearly marked in an alternative color, and should change color when the link has been visited in order to avoid confusion. Clear fonts and contrasting colors will make the site less daunting, and enable users to quickly and efficiently find the information they need without becoming overwhelmed.
Navigation systems must be consistent across the whole website, and information should be organized clearly with simple, straightforward subheadings. A central navigation page is also helpful, laying out clearly how users can find the information they seek. Pop-ups and unsolicited chat boxes should be avoided, as this could easily put off someone feeling stigma around their situation. Whether seeking helplines, advice guides, support groups or online treatment services, it’s crucial that online information is clear and easy to navigate.
The Importance Of Simplicity
When someone is seeking support online, they may be required to fill out a form to access the help they need. It’s important that these are easily found on the website and are simple to fill out, calling for only the necessary information. Someone in need is likely to be put off by a long, drawn out process requiring unnecessary personal information.
Should an error occur while a form is being filled out, there should be a simple and clear notification that includes a clear instruction and a straightforward route back to the previous page. Someone in a vulnerable position may give up quickly if it’s difficult or intimidating for them to fill out a form. Simplicity of online forms is particularly important for those looking for legal support in the event of a DUI charge, as legal information can be complicated and confusing.
Sensitivity At The Heart
It’s a brave thing to seek support when you’re struggling with or recovering from substance abuse, and addiction still carries a lot of stigma in society. For this reason, it’s vital that the language used in any online resource is sensitive, inclusive and non-judgmental. Ideally, charities and organizations offering online services should work together with an experienced copywriter to ensure that the language used is appropriate and inclusive, as well as being simple and easy to understand. A company who seeks advice from someone with lived experience of addiction and recovery will be even better equipped to ensure that the language is appropriate for the audience.
It is difficult to ask for help, and online resources provide valuable tools for people who struggle to talk about their experiences. In order to be fully accessible to everyone they’re trying to help, it’s crucial that these resources are clear, well-organized and sensitive. When inclusivity is at the heart of web design, it’s possible for charities and organizations to reach people who might otherwise find it difficult to access support.