10 Key Principles of Accessible Web Design

Man in wheelchair working on laptop

Designing with accessibility in mind is more than a best practice; it’s a commitment to equal access and user-centric design. At Squee, the Cheltenham based web design agency we understand that a website is not just a visual experience, but a gateway to information and services for users of all abilities. In this article, we delve into the significance of web accessibility and provide ten invaluable tips all businesses should be looking to incorporate on their sites.

Web accessibility refers to the practice of designing and developing websites to be usable and navigable by individuals of all abilities, including those with disabilities. It is not just a moral imperative, but a legal requirement in many places in the world, underlining its critical importance.

  1. Inclusivity Matters Web accessibility is about ensuring everyone has equal access to information and services online. By prioritising accessibility businesses are ensuring the largest outreach possible.
  2. Legal Compliance Adhering to accessibility standards ensures compliance with laws and regulations such as the Equality Act and the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG).
  3. Enhanced SEO Accessible websites tend to rank higher in search engine results. By providing clear, structured content and descriptive alt text on images.
  4. Improved User Experience A website that is easy to navigate benefits all users. By considering accessibility, websites naturally become more intuitive, streamlined, and user-friendly.
  5. Expanding Audience Reach Approximately 15% of the global population lives with some form of disability which is well over 1 billion people.
  6. Semantic HTML Structure Use proper HTML elements to create a well-structured document outline. This helps screen readers and other assistive technologies to interpret content correctly.
  7. Descriptive Alt Text Provide informative alt attributes for images. This allows users with visual impairments to understand the content and context of images.
  8. Meaningful Link Text Use descriptive text for links that conveys their purpose. Avoid generic terms like “click here” or “read more.”
  9. Keyboard Navigation Ensure that all interactive elements can be navigated and activated using a keyboard alone. This is crucial for users who rely on keyboard navigation or have mobility impairments.
  10. Contrast and Colour Choices Ensure that text has sufficient contrast against its background. This benefits users with visual impairments or colour vision deficiencies. At Squee we use the WebAIM Contrast Checker to ensure all colour combinations we use are accessible.
  11. Accessible Forms Label form fields clearly and provide instructions. Ensure that form elements can be navigated and submitted using a keyboard alone.
  12. Avoid Autoplay Media Provide controls for multimedia elements, and avoid autoplay features. This allows users to control their own browsing experience, especially those with sensory sensitivities.
  13. Aria Attributes Implement Accessible Rich Internet Applications (ARIA) attributes to enhance the accessibility of dynamic content and interactive elements.
  14. Focus Styles Ensure that focus styles are visible and distinguishable. This helps users understand where they are on the page and improves navigation for keyboard users.
  15. Regular Accessibility Testing Conduct thorough accessibility testing using tools like screen readers and automated testing software. Regular testing helps identify and address potential accessibility issues.

Conclusion

At Squee, we believe that every user deserves a seamless and inclusive online experience. By prioritising web accessibility, we not only comply with legal standards but also uphold our commitment to inclusivity and user-centric design. Through thoughtful coding practices and careful consideration of accessibility principles, we ensure that our websites are accessible to all, regardless of ability. Embracing web accessibility isn’t just a responsibility; it’s a commitment to creating a more inclusive digital landscape for everyone. If you’d like to work with Squee our Web Design Agency is based in Cheltenham and we’d love to work together to ensure your business is doing all it can to be as inclusive and accessible as possible.