Why wouldn’t you design your chatbot to be inclusive, accessible and helpful to neurodivergent users?  

There 940 million people have some degree of vision loss, 246 million have low vision and 39 million are blind. We know between 5-10% of the population has dyslexia and 6.5 million users in the UK alone have a mobility disability. Our society is rich with users whose 2nd language is English.

In reality if your law firm chatbot isn’t accessible to all users you could be sued for discrimination. There are ethical reasons too why you should comply with the Equality Act 2010. These laws have been introduced to deal with the issue of discrimination.

If chatbots and their scripts are mindful of all users, that benefits everyone - remove accessibility barriers and your users will thank you for it. You will reach a wider audience and prevent complaints or even legal actions against you.

What to consider when making your chatbot accessible.

Start by understanding how visitors to your chatbot interact with it;

  • Some users have motor disabilities and have difficulty selecting some elements on your website with a mouse.
  • Users with vision loss, low vision or colour blindness find it hard to use websites that are low in contrast.

Customise your chatbot to meet accessibility standards

Your chatbot can present any range of challenges for your visitors. You may want to consider screen readers and keyboard tab keys as navigation aids.

Visual cues or buttons which reveal chatbots are normally place bottom right of your screen. Consider how a screen reader or keyboard tab keys find or return to the chatbot. Think what it would be like for users who would have to tab through the entire web page each time. By adding skip to... links can help with some of these challenges.

Your users also need to know when a new element of a conversation is available on screen, like replies or redirects to web pages. Not just with sound or visually, screen readers need to be able to announce these events.

Consider colours for those with visual impairments and dyslexia.

In general you need strong contrasts for users with poor eyesight and slightly less contrast or colour combinations for those with dyslexia. There is a contrast range that works well for both.

Your chatbots scripts ideally will follow plain conversational speech patterns, avoiding jargon and acronyms. At the best of times jargon is difficult to understand and acronyms are certainly not understood by everyone.

If you can provide a feature on your website and chatbot that allows your users to change these combinations themselves then you can’t go too far wrong.

The ideal way to comply is to have your chatbot tested by a group of users with motor and cognitive disabilities, blindness and other forms of visual impairment.

Some additional reading for you; 

For further reading please visit the W3C working draft which describes best practices for making your law firm website and chatbot accessible.  

If you are interested in learning more about Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning chatbots we’d love to discuss how they can help your law firm.

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Founded in 1995, based in Edinburgh’s tech community, WEB is a company with a focus on simple digital products designed for Law Firms including AI and AI & machine learning chatbots – The team includes designers and software engineers.

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