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10 Website Accessibility Pitfalls and How to Avoid These

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Giving equal access to everyone is something talked about for years and living in a digital world should mean that everyone has equal access to information. Unfortunately, many websites are built with barriers that exclude people with disabilities and these barriers can be frustrating for anyone, especially for users with visual impairments, hearing loss, motor limitations, or cognitive differences, for whom these barriers have the potential to make a website completely unusable.

This isn't just about fairness – it's also about doing business the smart way. Why? Because by making your website accessible, you can tap into a wider audience, improve user experience, and boost your brand reputation.

In this article, we explore ten common accessibility pitfalls that can generate a negative user experience for those with disabilities and we provide tips on how to avoid them, so your website can be like a store with a wide, welcoming ramp, accessible to all.

Web Accessibility for Cognitive Disability



Website Accessibility Pitfalls and How to Avoid Them


  1. Keyboard Traps 

    A keyboard trap happens when someone using a keyboard (instead of a mouse) can't move around the website freely. They get stuck on one part of the page.

    Imagine getting stuck in a maze with no way out. You can't find your way to the next section.

    Now imagine a clear path through the maze, allowing you to move freely from one section to another. 

    Avoiding keyboard traps on a website is like ensuring there are no dead ends in a maze. It helps everyone, especially keyboard users, to navigate the site easily and without frustration.

    How to Avoid:

    - Make sure all parts of your website can be reached and used with a keyboard.

    - Test your site for keyboard accessibility by trying to use it with just the keyboard.

    - Ensure all interactive elements, like popups, menus, and other elements can be closed using the keyboard, typically by pressing the "Esc" key.

  2. Disabled Zoom Functionality

    Pinching your fingers to zoom in on your phone is second nature these days. Disabling the zoom function on your website takes away this essential tool for users with visual impairments who may need to enlarge text or images. However, some websites stop users from zooming in and out, which can be a problem for people who need to make text bigger to read it.

    Imagine reading a book with tiny text, but you can't use a magnifying glass to make it bigger. 

    Now imagine you can use a magnifying glass to enlarge the text, making it easy to read.

    Enabling zoom functionality on a website is like allowing users to use a magnifying glass to read a book. It helps everyone, especially those with visual impairments, to see the content clearly and comfortably.

    How to Avoid: Never disable the zoom functionality on your website. Responsive design ensures your site adapts to different screen sizes and zoom levels.
  3. Poor Color Contrast

    If the colors on your site don't contrast enough, it can be hard for people to read the text. This is especially true for people with visual impairments, like color blindness. 

    Imagine trying to read neon pink text on a bright red background. It's hard to see where one color ends and the other begins.

    Now imagine reading black text on a white background. It's clear and easy to read.

    Using good color contrast on a website is like having clear and distinct colors in a coloring book. It helps everyone, especially those with visual impairments, to read the content and see images clearly.

    How to Avoid:


    - Use a contrast ratio of at least 4.5:1 for normal text and 3:1 for large text.
    - Use a color contrast checker to ensure there's enough contrast between text and background colors. WCAG guidelines provide specific recommendations in this sense.

  4. Incorrect Link Configuration

    Vague link text like "Click Here" offers no clue where the link leads. Screen reader users often rely on link text to navigate the web. 

    Imagine if all street signs just said "Go Here." You wouldn't know where you were going or what to expect. 

    Now imagine the street signs saying "Library" or "Grocery Store." You'd know exactly where you were headed. 

    How to Avoid:

    - Use descriptive link text, like "Read our accessibility guide" instead of "click here."

    - Make sure links look different from other text so they stand out.

  5. Missing Alternative Text for Images

    If images don't have ‘alt text,’ screen readers can't describe them to users who are blind. 

    Imagine you're on a phone call and the person says, "Look at this," but you can't see what they're talking about. 

    Now imagine they say, "Look at this picture of a dog playing in the park." You get a clear mental image of what's being described.

    How to Avoid:

    - Always add alt text that describes what the image shows or its purpose.

    - If the image is just decorative, use an empty alt attribute (`alt=""`).

  6. Unlabeled Form Elements

    Forms without labels can be confusing for people using screen readers. They might not know what information to enter in each field. Imagine you're filling out a form, but the labels are missing, so you don't know where to write your name, email, or phone number. Now imagine the form has clear labels, telling you exactly where to enter your name, email, and phone number. 

    Adding labels to form elements is like having clear signs on a form, guiding everyone, especially those using screen readers, on where to enter the correct information. This makes forms easy to use and understand for everyone. 

    How to Avoid:

    - Use `<label>` tags to connect labels with their form fields.

    - Make sure every form field has a label, either visible or through the `aria-label` attribute.

  7. Non-Accessible Multimedia Content

    Videos and audio without captions or transcripts are not usable by people who are deaf or hard of hearing. Imagine watching a tutorial video with the sound off, but there are no captions, so you can't follow along. Now imagine the same video with captions, so even with the sound off, you can read the instructions and understand the content. 

    Adding captions to videos or providing transcripts for audio content is like turning on subtitles in a movie. It ensures that everyone, including people who are deaf or hard of hearing, can understand and enjoy the content.

    How to Avoid:

    - Add captions to all videos.

    - Provide transcripts for audio files.

    - Ensure media player controls can be used with a keyboard.

  8. Inaccessible PDF Documents

    PDFs that aren’t tagged properly can’t be read by screen readers. 

    Imagine opening a book with all the pages stuck together. You can't read anything inside. 

    Now imagine the same book with each page neatly separated and easy to read.

    How to Avoid:

    - Use tools that support accessibility features to create tagged PDFs.

    - Ensure text in PDFs can be selected and read by screen readers.

  9. Overuse of Dynamic Content

    Content that changes a lot, like pop-ups or auto-playing videos, can be distracting and confusing. 

    Imagine trying to read a book while someone is constantly turning the pages and playing loud music. It's hard to concentrate. 

    Now imagine reading the same book in a quiet room where you can turn the pages at your own pace. 

    Limiting the use of dynamic content like pop-ups and auto-playing videos is like reading in a peaceful environment. It helps everyone, especially those with attention difficulties, to focus on the content and navigate the website easily. 

    How to Avoid:

    - Provide options to stop, pause, or hide dynamic content.

    - Use ARIA live regions to let screen readers announce changes.

  10. Lack of Focus Indicators

    Without focus indicators, keyboard users may not know where they are on the page.

    Imagine walking in the dark without a flashlight. You can't see where you're going or what you're doing. 

    Now imagine walking with a flashlight. You can see exactly where you are and where to go next. 

    Using focus indicators on a website is like using a flashlight in the dark. It helps everyone, especially keyboard users, to see where they are and navigate the page easily. 

    How to Avoid:

    - Make sure focus indicators are visible and easy to see.

    - Don’t remove the default focus outline unless you provide a good alternative.

50 Tips to Make Your Website More Accessible



How Can Clym Help with Website Accessibility?

Clym provides tools to enhance website accessibility, adhering to WCAG 2.1 standards and offering customizable user settings. Our solution aims to improve website traffic, increase conversion rates, and avoid accessibility-related legal issues. 

Clym integrates these features into a user-friendly platform, helping businesses manage their website's compliance needs effectively.

Want to see for yourself? Speak to one of our experts today! 

See Clym in action by booking a demo or contacting us to discuss your specific needs.

See Clym in action today!



Accessibility Resources: 




FAQs on accessibility pitfalls

Why is website accessibility important?

Website accessibility ensures that everyone, including people with disabilities, can access information online. It improves user experience, reaches a wider audience, and enhances brand reputation.

What is a keyboard trap?

A keyboard trap occurs when a user cannot navigate a website using only a keyboard. To avoid this, ensure all website elements are accessible via keyboard.

How does poor color contrast affect accessibility?

Poor color contrast makes text difficult to read, especially for users with visual impairments. Use a contrast ratio of at least 4.5:1 for normal text.

What is alt-text and why is it important?

Alt text describes images for screen readers, helping users who are blind understand visual content. Always include alt text for meaningful images.

Why add captions to multimedia content?

Captions and transcripts make videos and audio accessible to people who are deaf or hard of hearing, ensuring everyone can follow along.

What is dynamic content, and how can it affect accessibility?

Dynamic content, like pop-ups and auto-playing videos, can be distracting. Provide options to pause or stop such content to help users focus.

What are focus indicators?

Focus indicators show which part of the webpage is currently selected by keyboard users, aiding navigation. Ensure these indicators are visible.

How can Clym help with website accessibility?

Clym provides tools to enhance website accessibility, following WCAG 2.1 standards, and offers customizable settings to manage compliance and improve user experience.