Best Resources

Web AIM - Empowering organizations to make their web content accessible to people with disabilities.

WebAIM's WCAG 2.0 Checklist - for HTML documents

WAVE Web Accessibility Tool - evaluates your website for accessibility issues.

Color Contrast Checker - check the colors on your website to see if they pass the WCAG 2.0 level AA or AAA requirements.

Simply Accessible - a lean team of accessibility specialists, led by Derek Fetherstone, changing the perception of accessibility on the web.

Accessibility Articles (ordered by date)

  • UX Design Thinking From A Senior Citizen’s Perspective (06-26-17)
    Attracting senior citizens as part of your user-base was once deemed as being the last Internet frontier. However, this elusive scenario has since become reality as we have witnessed a constant increase in the number of senior citizen users who are more often logging on, signing up, and subscribing. In the United States alone, Statista recorded that in 2016, 64% of senior citizens (65+ years of age) were online – that is up 4% from 2013.
  • Color Theory for Web Designers – How to Choose the Right Color Scheme for Your Website (03-30-17)
    You have decided to create a website. One of the first questions that you will face sounds like “What colors should I choose to make it professional and at the same time visually appealing?” This is not surprising because color is the first things that attract your visitors’ attention, that’s why a color scheme is considered to be the foremost thing every designer should know.
  • Getting started with Accessibility Design: Quickly improve 95% of your web pages (03-02-17)
    I realize that improving 95% of your web pages is a big promise. But hang in there with me for a few paragraphs and I’ll show you a quick, simple and cost-effective way to meet the accessibility needs of your users (57 million people in the US alone) without sacrificing the aesthetics of your designs. Developers, don’t leave yet — this affects you too!
  • Your Users Might Not be as Tech-Savvy as You Think (02-16-17)
    Thanks to their specialist skillsets and proximity to a given project, UX Designers are set apart from the majority of their target audience. As Jakob Nielsen explains, “one of usability’s most hard-earned lessons is that you are not the user. This is why it’s a disaster to guess at the users’ needs.” However, there’s another fundamental ability that can be damaging to assume of your user: Computer literacy.
  • How can I do this better? (02-14-17)
    Nothing makes us happier than knowing there are people out there just as eager as we are when it comes to making the digital world better for everyone.
  • How to Design for Color Blindness (01-17-17)
    Color blindness or color vision deficiency (CVD) affects around 1 in 12 men and 1 in 200 women worldwide. This means that for every 100 users that visit your website or app, up to 8 people could actually experience the content much differently that you’d expect.
  • Writing HTML with accessibility in mind (12-13-16)
    An introduction to web accessibility. Tips on how to improve your markup and provide users with more and betters ways to navigate and interact with your site.
  • Listening to the web, part three: working with screen readers (11-17/16)
    In the previous article, we unveiled the magic behind semantic code and using native elements in designing usable sites. Remembering to keep a mindset of accessibility and inclusivity, we journey onward in the third and final article in this series. Destination: screen readers. You’ll come away with everything you need to know to get your hands dirty when it comes to designing, developing for, and testing your sites with screen readers.
  • Hyperlink Usability: Guidelines For Usable Links (10-10-16)
    Hyperlinks. Interacting with them is perhaps the most frequent action done by users every time they go online. A 2010 Nielsen report estimated that the average user visits 2,646 different web pages per day, each of which may have up to 100 hyperlinks on them. That is 88 webpages a day, and almost 900 links seen, if not clicked.
  • Turning a new page for print-disabled readers (10-04-16)
    Access to knowledge is a fundamentally important right that many blind, low-vision, and otherwise print-disabled people cannot exercise due to limitations in federal copyright laws. The Marrakesh Treaty has been established to amend copyright laws to protect the copying of texts into accessible formats.
  • A Guide to Color and Conversion Rates (07-05-16)
    Color is one of the most powerful tools in the designer’s toolkit. It should be no surprise that different colors evoke different emotions and draw users attention. But if you ever tried to design a new project, you know how difficult is to decide on a color scheme that works well for it.
  • Why a Clock Widget Is Easier for Picking Time (06-28-16)
    Scheduling events and meetings are tasks that require time input on a form. But picking a time isn’t an easy task. Users have to scroll through a long list in a select menu. Research has shown that users often abandon forms with select menus.
  • Improving UX For Color-Blind Users (06-21-16)
    According to Colour Blind Awareness 4.5% of the population are color-blind. If your audience is mostly male this increases to 8%. Designing for color-blind people can be easily forgotten because most designers aren’t color-blind. In this article I provide 13 tips to improve the experience for color-blind people – something which can often benefit people with normal vision too.
  • Accessibility is everyone’s job: a role-based model for teams (06-16-16)
    In order for projects to be truly accessible, the whole team needs to collaborate. But, who does what? In this post, Mark helps us unpack how each role can contribute to making something that works for everyone.
  • It’s Not About Morals: Accessibility is for the Masses (06-01-16)
    Accessibility is often solely discussed in terms of people with disabilities. It is also quickly dismissed by smaller companies and startups because they argue that they don't have time and resources to consider this group. While there are certainly groups of people that require a unique experience, improving accessibility overall improves business outcomes overall.
  • Should all content be responsive? (05-26-16)
    In this screencast, Derek walks us through a couple of examples where traditional approaches to responsive content may actually hamper people from achieving their goals online. He proposes some alternative approaches that keep user experience top of mind.
  • Designing A Dementia-Friendly Website (05-17-16)
    Some well-established web design basics: minimize the number of choices that someone has to make; create self-explanatory navigation tools; help people get to what they’re looking for as quickly as possible.
  • Creating bulletproof headings (05-12-16)
    With some changes to the W3C guidelines on the horizon, Julie walks us through some best practices for headings, one of the web’s most humble-yet-powerful elements.
  • Ramps gone wrong: the problem of putting accessibility guidelines ahead of user experience (04-27-16)
    Mark shares a cringe-worthy but illuminating example of how compliance and guidelines can get in the way of good user experience.
  • Danger! ARIA tabs (04-14-16)
    ARIA is a great way to make things technically accessible, sometimes without requiring markup changes. But it can be tricky, even if you’re using it in a technically correct way. In this post, Jeff breaks down an ARIA tabs interaction to see how ARIA can impact users with disabilities—and how to make tabs truly accessible.
  • A Stronger Visual Cue for Text Fields (04-12-16)
    All clickable user interface elements need visual cues that signify clickability. Without cues, users won’t know to interact with them. Most buttons and links use color, location, and shape for a strong visual cue. But the only visual cue most text fields have is a 1-pixel border.
  • Keyboard support for mobile: the tutorial (03-31-16)
    In a tasty follow-up to her article about keyboard accessibility for mobile devices, Devon walks us through a pizza-themed tutorial, bringing keyboard support life in the most delicious way.
  • Three common accessibility pitfalls for developers: information and relationships (03-24-16)
    In the third post of her “Accessibility pitfalls for developers” series, Julie takes on information and relationships. This success criteria is about making sure that everyone gets the information, even if they can’t perceive the page the way other people can.
  • How We Made Our Client’s Site Accessible by Law (03-22-16)
    It was just another day at the office until we got a quote request from a website owner in California. It was a first time for our team, as we only provided web design and development projects so far.
  • Why “managing accessibility” doesn’t work (and how to do better) (03-10-16)
    The wheelchair access ramp was blocked by more than a foot of snow…and two potted trees. I was bemused and frustrated at the same time.
  • Accessibility: Why I got into this and why I’m still here (02-25-16)
    My manager asked me to make the company’s website accessible to people with disabilities. And when I realized how artificial yet systemic the barriers were that prevented this website from being fully accessible, a lifetime accessibility zealot was born.
  • Three common accessibility pitfalls for developers: colour contrast (02-18-16)
    In the next installment of her “Accessibility pitfalls for developers” series, Julie takes a look at the second most common accessibility problem we see: colour contrast. Colour is most often a designer’s domain, so why a post about colour for developers? Well, the answer is as complex as the projects themselves.
  • Supporting the keyboard for mobile (02-11-16)
    Keyboard support means you have the freedom to use your hardware in the way that is most efficient and effective for you, which is really the whole point of inclusive design. But how do we get to keyboard accessibility for touch interfaces?
  • 4 Ways to Make Online Content More Accessible (02-09-16)
    In order for vision-impaired people to interact with online content effectively, the content must be accessible. But that's easier said than done! This week, author Jacqueline Tolisano shows us four ways to make online content more accessible.
  • Three common accessibility pitfalls for developers: text alternatives (02-04-16)
    What accessibility issues did we encounter most frequently last year? In this three-post series, Julie shares what she discovered. We start with the third most common pitfall: text alternatives for non-text content.
  • Why Motor Impaired Users Need Skip Links (02-02-16)
    How well could you use a website if your hands had limited muscle control and movement? One task you’d have trouble doing is scrolling through web pages. Motor impaired users often experience this online.
  • Why accessibility is good for business (according to my mechanic) (01-26-16)
    I was lucky to find my mechanic, Pete. There was only one problem. A single, 6” step that stood between my wheelchair and his garage.
  • How Good UX Can Make Your Users Safer (01-20-16)
    Until the safe Web comes, we must be increasingly savvy in how we shape secure experiences—let's dive into the struggle and share insights to make it better.
  • Labeling Form Elements (01-12-16)
    One context in which providing the correct labels for elements can be crucial is in HTML forms. Because users are interacting with forms more directly unlike with some UI elements, it is important that each form widget - input, textarea, select etc. - is correctly labeled.
  • 15 Website Accessibility Tips That Increase Everyone’s Engagement (12-17-15)
    Making your website compliant with WCAG and ADA benefits everyone, not just those with disabilities.
  • Being disabled can be lame (12-16-15)
    Language is meant to provide meaning. And the word “disabled” does, it turns out, a mediocre job. Guest author Johnny Taylor helps us navigate the complexities of communication.
  • 7 Factors that Separate Good Websites from Bad Websites (12-06-15)
    We all naturally form opinions about the websites we visit. Some of them we love so much that we come back several times a week, and others leave us with a bad experience that causes us to never return. But what is it that determines whether a website is good or bad? As individuals we each have our own opinions and we’ll never completely agree on which websites are good and which ones are bad, but most of us will base our feelings on similar factors. Here is a look at 7 factors that I feel are influential in this determination.
  • What Makes Someone Leave Your Website? (12-06-15)
    Part of having a successful website is attracting visitors. Keeping those visitors on your site, however, is another topic altogether. Of course, once you have the visitor on your site you’ll want to keep them around for a while rather than seeing them quickly leaving to go somewhere else.
  • A quick reminder on how and why to use labels in forms to make them more accessible (12-04-15)
    It seems the UserVoice page of Microsoft Edge has a checkbox that is inaccessible to screen reader users. The reason is a wrong implementation of a label. So, here is a quick reminder of how to use labels in plain HTML (without any ARIA extras) and why that’s a good idea.
  • Colorblinding Chrome Extension shows websites in Colorblind View (10-20-15)
    Usability and accessibility are two very important topics in web design. When building a website you should try to support as many possible devices and browsers as possible. But what about people with disabilities who also browse the web? This is the whole idea behind accessible websites and accessibility testing.
  • Interaction Design Mistakes That Drive Us Nuts (10-14-15)
    Interaction design can separate the quality sites from the rest of the crowd – if done well. If, however, there are glaring errors in the designs, it will only serve to irritate and frustrate the very people you’re trying to impress.
  • The 10 Commandments of Good Form Design on the Web (05-22-15)
    From font sizes to information clarity, Johan takes us through 10 Do’s and Dont’s that every designer should take note of when creating an input form.
  • Accessibility for Modern Responsive Website Layouts (05-21-15)
    The older methods of web design have fallen by the wayside to make room for HTML5/CSS3 design. Unfortunately when you've become ingrained with older design techniques it can be difficult to extricate yourself from the outdated workflow. But modern usability centers around responsive design and requires more attention to detail.
  • 7 Things Every Designer Needs to Know about Accessibility (04-15-15)
    Accessibility enables people with disabilities to perceive, understand, navigate, interact with, and contribute to the web. Imagine a world where developers know everything there is to know about accessibility. You design it and they build it… perfectly. In this world, only the design itself can cause people with disabilities to have trouble using a product.
  • Ten Guidelines to Improve the Usability and Accessibility of Your Site (03-16-15)
    Despite their differences, usability and accessibility sometimes go hand-in-hand. The World Wide Web Consortium defines accessibility as an “equivalent user experience for people with disabilities, including people with age-related impairments”, while usability is defined as the “design of products to be effective, efficient and satisfying” for end users.
  • Reframing Accessibility for the Web (02-03-15)
    We need to change the way we talk about accessibility. Most people are taught that “web accessibility means that people with disabilities can use the Web”—the official definition from the W3C. This is wrong. Web accessibility means that people can use the web.
  • Nine common accessibility issues affecting websites (01-22-15)
    Access iQ has trawled through its growing list of website accessibility audits to bring you nine of the most common issues we uncover.
  • Integrating Contrast Checks in Your Web Workflow (12-22-14)
    It’s nearly Christmas, which means you’ll be sure to find an overload of festive red and green decorating everything in sight—often in the ugliest ways possible.
  • Design Accessibly, See Differently: Color Contrast Tips And Tools (10-22-14)
    When you browse your favorite website or check the latest version of your product on your device of choice, take a moment to look at it differently. Step back from the screen. Close your eyes slightly so that your vision is a bit clouded by your eyelashes.
  • Mobile And Accessibility: Why You Should Care And What You Can Do About It (05-21-14)
    Mobile has revolutionized the way we use the web. This is especially true of disabled users, for whom mobile devices open the door to a whole new spectrum of interactions.
  • Automatic infinite scrolling & accessibility (05-21-14)
    Automated infinite scrolling is a popular web design technique even though it creates difficult accessibility problems for keyboard users.
  • Placeholders in Form Fields Are Harmful (05-11-14)
    Placeholder text within a form field makes it difficult for people to remember what information belongs in a field, and to check for and fix errors. It also poses additional burdens for users with visual and cognitive impairments.
  • Keeping Web Accessibility in Mind (07-31-12)
    Gain a quick overview of web accessibility by seeing the experiences of users with various disabilities.
  • Designing for Everyone: The Role of Accessibility in Service Design (07-26-12)
    Designing for accessibility spreads the benefits of good UX while opening up your product or service to millions of disabled or aging users.
  • Why should my website be accessible? (05-23-10)
    It occurred to me while I was posting a response to a potential client that I didn’t have a resource I could point them to as an answer to the question in the subject line. Certainly, after doing this work for over 10 years, I know the answer to the question, but I had never written in down in exactly that form. Indeed, I have given innumerable workshops and talks over the years and always covered this in the first five minutes. But I guess I have always assumed that everyone already knew this. Silly me.
  • 10 Ways To Make Your XHTML Site Accessible Using Web Standards (06-18-09)
    Without argument, one of the most important things to consider when creating a website is that it be accessible to everyone who wants to view it. Does your website play nice with screen readers? Can a user override your style sheet with a more accessible one and still see everything your website has to offer? Would another Web developer be embarrassed if they saw your code? If your website is standards-compliant, you could more confidently answer these questions.
  • Identifying Web Accessibility Issues (undated)
    While it takes a fairly technical background to detect all accessibility issues and features, there are many accessibility problems that can be quickly and easily identified without the need for a highly technical background. This handout will suggest a few free accessibility tools and offer 4 simple techniques to help you identify some common web accessibility problems.
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What does Accessibility mean?

Accessibility refers to the design of products, devices, services, or environments for people with disabilities.

The concept of accessible design ensures both "direct access" (i.e. unassisted) and "indirect access" meaning compatibility with a person's assistive technology (for example, computer screen readers). (Source: Wikipedia)

Who can use your website?


Does my website have to be Accessible?

Accessible websites have come to the forefront of people’s minds with legal actions being taken against websites that are not accessible. As a website owner you may think this doesn’t affect your small business, association or non profit website but it does.

One thing to keep in mind when talking about an accessible website and people with afflictions that impede their life is that the subject is not limited to one particular group. There are various types of afflictions, both prominent and not so prominet, to consider. Someone who has trouble seeing due to aging or a disease would have a vision problem as well as a person who is blind. Motor skill disabilities are not limited to those who are born will motor skill problems, they could happen with age, an accident or disease also. There are also hearing, color blindness and comprehension issues that affect any type of people.

Benefits of an Accessible Website

As mentioned above, there are all types of afflictions that make accessing a website difficult for all different types of people. Visitors to websites are from all walks of life.

Having an accessible website benefits you and your visitors by:

  • having leaner background coding for the browser and technologies that assist in visiting a website to get through.
  • leaner background coding helps to improve download speed of a website.
  • the little bit of extra features added to a website to make it accessible also improves the usability of the website.
  • broadening the website visitor base to beyond the expected targeted audience.
  • using leaner coding and the techniques for accessible websites you can also improve your search engine results.
  • using a clear heading structure benefits those who use a device to read the website so they will understand how the content flows and those who can see the website can find the key areas they are looking for.
  • using image alt tags properly will assist those who have images turned off, are using a speech reader to read the web page to them and can improve the search engine optimization of the web page.
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