Website accessibility is a key consideration when working on any UX design project. Designers, writers and strategists who are experts in the field of user experience are guided by a common set of standards to ensure people with differing abilities can use and interact with your website, apps and other digital experiences.
Ensuring your website meets accessibility standards reflects positively on your business. There are also legal requirements that businesses and organizations must comply with.
Benefits of Accessible Websites
There are many benefits to having an accessible website. It’s not only important from a legal and ethical perspective, but also from a user experience standpoint. Benefits include:
- Increased user satisfaction
- Ease of use, intuitive design
- Supports SEO best practices
- Improved KPIs
- Supports assistive technologies
- Regulatory compliance
What is website accessibility?
Website accessibility is a concept used to describe how easily people can use a website. Website accessibility guidelines seek to eliminate barriers that prevent people with disabilities from using websites. Adhering to current website accessibility guidelines ensures websites are usable and navigable by differently abled people who are living with visual, hearing, motor, cognitive and neurological disabilities.
|In the physical world, there are accessibility standards that businesses must follow. Examples include wheelchair ramps and minimum widths for building doorways. Like physical accessibility, website accessibility ensures equal access to information, products and services.
Examples of issues affecting website accessibility may include:
- Ability to read, hear or see web content in the absence of text alternatives
- Ability to navigate a website using only keyboard commands
- Ability to distinguish colors
- Avoidance of flashing animations or videos which may cause seizures
- Average reading level
The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) is a federal law in the United States that prohibits discrimination against people with disabilities and requires reasonable accommodations to be made to ensure equal access to goods, services, and facilities, including websites.
Learn more about the Americans with Disabilities Act and how companies can ensure compliance.
WCAG and ISO/IEC 40500:2012. ISO/IEC 40500
The Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) are a set of internationally recognized guidelines developed by the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) that provide technical standards for making web content accessible. The ADA does not specifically reference the WCAG, but courts in the United States have often used the WCAG as a reference for determining whether a website is accessible under the ADA. Therefore, website accessibility strategy should align with the WCAG.
Learn more about Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG 2.0) and ISO/IEC 40500:2012. ISO/IEC 40500 is an international standard from the W3C Web Accessibility Initiative (WAI).
The Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA) is a provincial law in Ontario, Canada, that aims to make the province more accessible in areas such as customer service, employment, transportation, communications and the built environment.
Learn more about Accessibility for Ontarians with Disability (AODA) standards apply to businesses operating in Ontario, Canada.
Website accessibility has significant implications for UX strategy, including compliance with the ADA, alignment with the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) and awareness among website developers, designers and content creators. Ensuring that a website is accessible to individuals with disabilities is not only a legal requirement but also promotes inclusivity and provides a better experience for all users.