Website accessibility

March 20, 2020

How do you know if your website is accessible to everyone?

Here’s a toolbox to get you started. To meet the UK accessibility deadlines for public bodies:

New websites must be fully accessible. They must meet the Web Content Accessibility Group WCAG 2.1 AA standard by 23 September 2019
Existing websites must meet the accessibility standards from 23 September 2020


Understanding the problem

What does a non-accessible website look like? Here’s a couple of examples to put you in the picture.

Understanding the diversity of users

This is a great little video to introduce a lot of ways that people can find your site hard to navigate. It can be anything from permanent blindness to a broken arm. Worth watching if you are new to accessibility for websites.

Keyboard navigation

Here’s a video showing navigation with a mouse and then with the TAB key. Notice the high contrast yellow box around the focused item.

Try it yourself at the UK Government website. Don’t touch your mouse, just use the TAB key to navigate.

Colour contrast

Colour contrast is another important aspect of accessibility. Remember that 9% of men and 1% of women are colour blind. With this tool you can check the relative contrast between two colours of text. This may be in buttons, for example.

Think about how text might look on a button. If the colours are not right, it’s difficult to read the text. Try checking colour contrast with this tool from Webaim.

Text to speech dictation

Many users will not invest in a screen reader because they don’t have the same need as those for whom it is essential. However, a child who is learning English as a second language might find it invaluable.

Cognitive Overload

The best user experience is the one the user doesn’t notice. It appears smooth and simple on the surface.If the website design does what it’s supposed to do, the user won’t notice any of the work that went into it.

The less users have to think about the interface or design, the more they can focus on their goal on your website.

Click on this high cognitive load website if you dare.