Accessible Web Design: How to Get Start with Accessible Web Design

May 23, 2024
Content of the post
Content of the post

Everyone deserves a smooth online experience! Accessible web design ensures people with disabilities can navigate, interact with, and find information on your website just as easily as anyone else. It's not just about fancy looks. Accessible design includes things like:

  • Describing pictures with words (alt text)
  • Adding captions to videos
  • Making your website easy to use with a keyboard

This creates a welcoming online space that values everyone. In this article, we'll explore the importance of website accessibility and how you can make your website user-friendly for all


1. What is Accessible Web Design?

Easy access for everyone is what accessible web design is all about. It means people with disabilities can use your website just as easily as anyone else. This includes folks with vision problems, hearing difficulties, or those who need to use a keyboard to navigate.

There's a law called the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) that makes sure no one is discriminated against because of a disability. This applies to websites too! But making your website accessible is more than just following the rules.

Here's why accessible web design is important:

  • It's the right thing to do: Everyone deserves a chance to use your website.
  • It boosts your reputation and shows you care about inclusivity.
  • It helps more people find you: Website accessibility can improve your search engine ranking.
  • It improves user experience for all: Clear descriptions and easy navigation benefit everyone.

Making your website accessible is easy! We'll explore some simple ways to do this in the next section.


2. The Benefits of Accessible Web Design

In this part, we'll explain the benefits of Accessible Web Design and how it can improve your website's reach and user engagement.

2.1. Wide-scale Accessibility

The extensive accessibility facilitated by web design has revolutionized the way information and services are accessed. In earlier times, information and services were confined to specific locations or traditional media like books, newspapers, and television advertisements.

However, with the evolution of web design, users now can access and retrieve information from anywhere and at any time. This not only saves time, effort, and costs for users but also establishes an excellent communication channel for businesses and organizations to connect with a diverse potential customer base.

2.2. Accessing Advertising and Marketing

In the past, advertising and marketing heavily depended on mass media like television, radio, and print media. Nevertheless, as the internet continues to expand, businesses and organizations now possess the opportunity to harness the extensive promotional potential offered by websites and mobile apps.

Accessible web design functions as a robust platform for deploying marketing tools and techniques, including online advertising, email marketing, and social media, to precisely and efficiently target customers. This not only enhances brand awareness but also fosters increased sales, establishing a cost-effective marketing channel.

2.3. Helps both Nonprofits and Communities

Some non-profit organizations operate solely online, using the Internet as a promotional tool, fundraising platform, and information-sharing medium. Web design helps these organizations reach a large user base from around the world, attracting interest and support from the community.

Furthermore, by facilitating the online sharing of information and resources, accessible web design has fostered a collaborative environment for diverse information access and education.


3. How to Design an Accessible Website?

Designing websites with accessibility for everyone, including individuals with disabilities, is a crucial consideration. By following clear guidelines, you can ensure that your website is usable by a broad spectrum of users. The following checklist outlines key aspects to bear in mind during the design of an accessible website:

3.1. Enable Keyboard Navigation

A fundamental aspect of an accessible website is facilitating keyboard navigation. For true accessibility, users should be able to navigate your site without relying on a mouse. Many assistive technologies rely on keyboard-only navigation.

Hence, it is crucial to ensure that users can effortlessly navigate and explore your site solely using a keyboard. This encompasses tasks such as accessing pages, clicking on links, and interacting with other elements. 

3.2. Use high-contrast Colors

Ensure the use of high-contrast colors as some users may face challenges reading text with low color contrast. It is advisable to employ colours with a significant contrast ratio, such as black and white or black and yellow. Maintain a colour contrast scheme across your site to guarantee the distinguishability of all elements on the page.

Text, for example, should be prominently visible rather than blending into the background. Contrast ratio is easy to approach, helping people with poor vision, cataracts, increased eye pressure, and other visual impairments interact easily with your website. Using insufficient contrast fonts will exclude many people from your content.

3.3. Provide Alt text for Images

When incorporating images on your website, include alternative text (alt text) describing the image. This ensures that users, especially those relying on assistive technologies like dictation software, can comprehend the content even if they cannot see the image.

Additionally, providing alt text offers the advantage of optimizing your site for better visibility in search engines. Take advantage of this by integrating frequently searched key terms relevant to your images within the alt text.

3.4. Headings Guide Readers

Enhancing web accessibility can be achieved by breaking down your content into smaller sections, making it more reader-friendly. Incorporating headlines and lists for organizing information on your pages contributes to this improvement. Clear headings play a crucial role in aiding screen readers in comprehending and interpreting your pages.

They facilitate in-page navigation, benefiting those utilizing assistive technologies to explore the content. Adopting a structured heading hierarchy, including a single H1 for the page title and subsequent use of H2 and H3 for subsections, is recommended. 

Following this hierarchical order, where H2 follows H1, followed by H3, and potentially H4, promotes organizational coherence. This organized structure not only benefits those using assistive technologies but also aids readers with cognitive disabilities by providing a logical flow of information.

3.5. Add Subtitles for Videos

Incorporating videos on your website becomes more inclusive when accompanied by captions or transcripts. This ensures that users who are deaf or hard of hearing can fully enjoy the content. Closed captioning and text transcripts enable individuals using screen readers to access your content without solely relying on visual imagery or audio cues.

3.6. Design Forms Carefully

Designing forms carefully is crucial, as they can pose usability challenges for some users. Ensure clarity by providing clear labels for each field and ensuring the overall form is easy to navigate. Place labels directly adjacent to their corresponding fields for straightforward comprehension.

It's also advisable to include concise instructions guiding users on how to fill out the form accurately. Consider incorporating placeholders within form fields, displaying text as an example. This serves as a visual guide for users, offering a clearer understanding of how to complete the form effectively.


4. Conclusion

We have seen that accessible web design not only helps improve user understanding and engagement but also enhances credibility and market reach. Creating a website that is accessible to everyone is not only the right step but also a commitment to fairness and diversity in the digital space.

Bear in mind that accessible web design is not a one-time project but an ongoing process. As technology evolves and user expectations rise, it is imperative to persist in efforts to ensure that our websites not only meet technical requirements but also foster an open, authentic, and supportive environment for everyone.

Frequently asked questions
01. What is the definition of web design?
02. What do you need to effectively prepare for a website design?
03. What is SEO-friendly web design?
04. How is a professional and high-end website design?
05. How much does it cost to design a website at CanhCam?
06. Is there a contract for website design service?
Holding a leadership role in the company, I aspire to fulfill the mission of bringing bespoke website solutions to empower businesses to thrive in the digital age, fostering both operational effectiveness and competitive advantage, ultimately contributing to sustainble business growth and success.
Mr Hua Thien Vuong
Co-Founder & CEO