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Web Content Accessibility Uncovered: 50 Tips to Make Your Website More Accessible


In today’s digital world, where almost everything is done online, it is really important to make sure your website can be used by everyone, including people with disabilities. Web accessibility in web design is all about making your site easy for everyone to use, no matter their abilities, by following standards such as the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG).
This guide will tell you why it's important to have an accessible website, talk about the rules you need to follow, and give you tips on how to make your site better for everyone.

What is Web Accessibility?

Web accessibility refers to the inclusive practice of making websites usable by people of all abilities and disabilities, such as auditory, cognitive, neurological, physical, speech, and visual impairments, making it easy for them to effectively use websites and online resources. Web accessibility is guided by the principle of equal access to information and functionality on the web, making it central to inclusive web design.

At the heart of this lies the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG), developed by the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C). These guidelines are the most widely accepted standards for website accessibility in web design and are organized around four principles: perceivable, operable, understandable, and robust (POUR). 

The WCAG principles refer to the following aspects: 

  • Perceivable: Information and how you interact with a website need to be shown in ways everyone can see or hear. This means people must be able to notice the information (it can't be hidden from their senses).
  • Operable: The parts of a website you use to interact and the way you move around it must work for everyone. This rule makes sure people can use all the buttons and navigate the site using things like the keyboard or voice commands.
  • Understandable: The information and how the website works must be easy to get. This means people should be able to easily understand the info and how to use the website (it shouldn't be too complicated for them).
  • Robust: The website's content must be strong enough so all kinds of tools, including ones that help people with disabilities, can correctly show the content. This means the website should work well on different devices and with tools that assist people without causing confusion.

Alongside the WCAG (Web Content Accessibility Guidelines), there are also web accessibility laws that require websites to be easy to use for everyone, including people with disabilities. In the United States, for example, the ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) says that places open to the public, including websites, need to be accessible to people with disabilities. Even though the ADA doesn't specifically mention websites, courts and web accessibility lawsuits have made it clear that websites are covered too. This means if your website isn't accessible, you could end up in legal trouble, showing how crucial it is to follow ADA rules when designing your website.

The U.S. also has other rules, like Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act and Colorado's Accessibility Law, HB 21-1110. For more details on U.S. web accessibility and the web accessibility landscape  in the United States, you can check out our blog post on the topic. At the time of the writing of this article the most common version of the WCAG found in web accessibility laws is  the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.1.

Canada has a similar law called the AODA (Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act) for making web content accessible in Ontario and in the European Union the EAA (European Accessibility Act) regulates the way businesses make products and services, including websites and apps, accessible in EU countries.

Clym helps businesses meet these web accessibility standards by providing a tool that manages both privacy and accessibility on websites, no matter which website builder you used to create your site. We also have resources to help you understand what you need to do to make your online store accessible, like  web accessibility guides on the WCAG 2 and a list of 21 resources to make your website more accessible.


Why is Web Accessibility Important in Web Design?

Website accessibility in web design is essential for making your website easy for everyone to use, including people with disabilities. Think of it as making sure your digital storefront has a ramp for wheelchairs—only in this case, it's about making your website navigable and understandable for all users, regardless of their physical or cognitive abilities.

Also, making your website accessible is not just the right thing to do; it's also good for your business. It helps you reach more customers, improves your site's visibility online, and keeps you on the right side of the law. Plus, many of the changes that make your site more accessible can also improve the overall experience for all your visitors, potentially leading to more sales and happier customers.

This is important for several reasons:

  1. Reaching More Customers: By making your website accessible, you're opening your doors to a wider audience. Simple changes can make a big difference, like adding text descriptions to images for those who can't see them, or making sure your website can be navigated using a keyboard for people who can't use a mouse. These improvements help ensure that more people can learn about your products or services, including the estimated one billion people worldwide with disabilities.
  2. Boosting Your Website's Visibility: Search engines, like Google, prefer websites that are user-friendly, which includes being accessible to people with disabilities. By following web accessibility guidelines, your website is more likely to show up higher in search results. This means more potential customers can find your business online.
  3. Avoiding Legal Issues: In many places around the world, including the U.S. and the EU, there are laws that require businesses to make their websites accessible to people with disabilities. Not following these rules can lead to legal trouble, which can be costly and harm your business's reputation.


How Can I Improve the Web Accessibility of My Website?

To make your website easier for everyone to use, including people with disabilities, there are some simple steps you can follow. First, organize your website clearly using standard web page layouts so that tools designed to help disabled users can understand it better. Make sure to describe your images with text, so people who can't see them know what they're about.

It's also important to make your website work without a mouse, just using keyboard commands, because some people can't use a mouse. Pay attention to the colors you use, too; you want to make sure there's enough contrast between the text and the background so everyone can read it easily.

Besides these basic changes, it's a good idea to check your website with tools that are designed to find accessibility issues. There are many free tools online that can help you with this. But even better, ask people with disabilities to use your website and give you feedback. They can tell you firsthand what works well and what could be better. By taking these steps, you can make your website welcoming to a wider audience, which is good for your business and the right thing to do.


Accessibility Checklist - 50 Tips for a More Web Accessible Website

Making your website easy for everyone to use, including people with disabilities, is super important today. It's not just about following rules; it's about being fair and considerate. Making your site accessible means that everyone can get to your content and services, no matter what challenges they might face with seeing, hearing, moving, or understanding things.

The tips below are aimed at helping you make your site better and more welcoming for everyone, which is good for your visitors and your business. Remember, making your website accessible is an ongoing job that benefits everyone by making the internet a more inclusive place.

Here are 50 simple ways to make your site better for everyone:

  1. Organize Your Site Well: Use clear sections like headers, navigation, and footers so everyone can find their way around easily.
  2. Describe Your Images: Write short descriptions for your images (alt text) so people who can't see them know what they're about.
  3. Make Everything Keyboard-Friendly: Make sure people can use your site with just a keyboard, for those who can't use a mouse.
  4. Help Screen Readers: Use special landmarks in your code to guide screen readers through your site smoothly.
  5. Check Your Colors: Make sure your text stands out against the background so everyone can read it easily.
  6. Organize with Headings: Use headings to break up your content and make it easy to understand.
  7. Label Your Forms: Make sure every form field has a label so everyone knows what to fill in.
  8. Caption Your Videos: Add captions to videos and transcripts for audio to help people who can't hear them.
  9. Don't Just Use Color to Give Information: Use more than just color to show something important, since not everyone can see colors the same way.
  10. Keep Navigation Simple: Make your site's navigation the same on every page so it's easy to get around.
  11. Use Clear Link Text: Instead of "click here," use text that tells where the link goes.
  12. Make Tables Accessible: Set up your tables so screen readers can understand them.
  13. Clearly Show Errors: If there's an error, like in a form, explain what's wrong and how to fix it.
  14. Think Twice Before Using CAPTCHAs: They can be hard for some people to get through. Look for other ways to check if someone is real.
  15. Offer Keyboard Shortcuts: Shortcuts can make navigating quicker and easier.
  16. Test with Screen Readers: Regularly check how your site works with screen readers.
  17. Control Auto-Play Media: Let users decide when to play videos or music.
  18. Write Simply: Use easy language so everyone can understand your content.
  19. Add Skip Links: These let people skip to the main content, bypassing menus and other repeated items.
  20. Make Your Site Work on All Devices: Your site should be easy to use on phones, tablets, and computers.
  21. Avoid Flashing Content: Flashing lights and moving content can be harmful to some people.
  22. Make Keyboard Focus Visible: Show clearly which part of the site is selected when using the keyboard.
  23. Use Big Clickable Areas: Bigger buttons and links are easier for everyone to click.
  24. Offer Different Ways to Find Content: Like search bars, sitemaps, and breadcrumbs.
  25. Tell People About Your Accessibility Efforts: Share your commitment to making your site accessible.
  26. Allow More Time: Give users the option to stop, extend, or control time limits.
  27. Logical Order: Make sure tabbing through your site makes sense visually.
  28. Be Careful with PDFs: Use web pages instead of PDFs when you can, as they're easier for screen readers.
  29. Make Your Mobile Site Accessible Too: Ensure people can use your site easily on their phones.
  30. Explain Your Elements: Use roles to help assistive technology understand what things do.
  31. Check Your Code: Use tools to find and fix any coding mistakes.
  32. Describe Visual Content: Give text alternatives for charts and graphs.
  33. Use Descriptive Page Titles: Help users know where they are on your site.
  34. Avoid Text in Images: Use real text instead of images of text for better readability.
  35. Test with Real Users: Get feedback from people with disabilities.
  36. Caption Live Videos: Add captions to live streams.
  37. Educate Your Team: Make sure everyone working on your site knows about accessibility.
  38. Use Tools to Check Accessibility: Regular checks can help you stay on track.
  39. Think Accessibility from the Start: Include it in your design process.
  40. Keep Learning and Updating: Accessibility guidelines change, so keep up.
  41. Accessible Menus: Make sure your menus work for everyone.
  42. Announce Updates: Tell screen reader users when something changes on the page.
  43. Use Underlines Right: Only for links, so it's clear what's clickable.
  44. Give Clear Instructions: Help users know what to do.
  45. Consider All Users: Make your site simple and clear.
  46. Offer Other Ways to Do Things: Like different ways to drag and drop.
  47. Control Updates: Let users pause content that updates on its own.
  48. Pair Icons with Words: So it's clear what each icon means.
  49. Help Users with Low Vision: Make text and images easy to enlarge.
  50. Join the Community: Learn from others working on accessibility.


Why Having a Non-Accessible Website Could Lead to Legal Issues?

Having a non-accessible website can lead to legal issues because it may violate various laws and regulations designed to protect the rights of individuals with disabilities. In jurisdictions like the United States, the ADA has been interpreted to apply to websites, leading to lawsuits against organizations whose digital content is not accessible.

Similarly, in other countries, compliance with local accessibility laws is mandatory, and failure to adhere can result in fines, legal action, and damage to an organization's reputation.

In 2022, there were  2,387 web accessibility lawsuits in the United States against businesses with websites that were hard to use for people with disabilities. Most of these lawsuits were against companies selling consumer goods, services, and retail products.

With the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reporting that about 1 in 4 adults in the USA has some kind of disability, it's easy to see why it's important to understand and follow web accessibility standards. To avoid legal trouble and the costs that come with it, businesses need to learn about and follow guidelines like the WCAG, ADA's Title III, and Section 508. This is on top of following laws about how personal information is handled. 

Clym offers businesses a way to facilitate web accessibility compliance as well as relevant resources such as  tips for web accessibility in e-commerce

Keep in mind:

Web accessibility in web design is not just a legal requirement; it's a moral and ethical obligation to ensure the digital world is inclusive for everyone. By following the WCAG guidelines organizations can enhance their website's accessibility, reach a broader audience, and contribute to a more inclusive internet.

How can Clym help make your website Accessibility ready?

Clym offers a comprehensive tool designed to facilitate data privacy and web accessibility compliance with the WCAG 2.1 standards for websites while providing customizable settings for users. By leveraging Clym's solution, businesses can not only improve their website traffic and conversion rates but also mitigate the risk of accessibility-related legal challenges. Our user-friendly platform simplifies the management of compliance requirements, seamlessly integrating these features to meet both legal compliance and business needs effectively.

Clym stands out by offering a revolutionary all-in-one platform that addresses both Privacy and Accessibility compliance across global regulations. With a single interface and one price point, our solution offers:

- Seamless website integration,

- Customization to adapt to user locations and relevant regulations,

- The option for custom branding,

- A user-friendly interface that caters to all compliance needs of your users,

- Compliance coverage for over 30 data privacy regulations,

- Six pre-configured accessibility profiles and over 25 display adjustments, enabling visitors to tailor their browsing experience to their individual needs.

Interested in exploring how Clym can transform your website? Our team of experts is ready to guide you through our offerings. Experience Clym firsthand by scheduling a demo or reaching out to us for a discussion tailored to your unique needs.


FAQs on web content accessibility

What is Web Accessibility?

Web accessibility ensures that websites are usable by everyone, including people with various disabilities. It's guided by the principle of equal access to information and functionality, with the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) by the W3C being the central standards.

Is Web Accessibility Only Required in the U.S.?

No, many countries have their own web accessibility laws, such as the AODA in Canada and the EAA in the European Union. It's important for international businesses to be aware of and comply with these laws to avoid legal issues and ensure inclusivity for all users.

Why is Web Accessibility Important?

Web accessibility is crucial for ethical, legal, and business reasons. Making your website accessible helps to reach a broader audience, including the estimated one billion people worldwide with disabilities, boosts your site's SEO, and keeps you compliant with laws like the ADA in the U.S. and the AODA in Canada, avoiding potential legal issues.

What are the Principles of Web Content Accessibility?

The WCAG principles are organized around four key concepts: 

- Perceivable: Information must be available to the senses (sight, hearing, touch).

- Operable: Users must be able to interact with all components and navigate the website.

- Understandable: Information and the operation of the website must be understandable.

- Robust: Content must be accessible through a wide variety of user agents and assistive technologies.

How Can I Improve My Website's Accessibility?

Start with organizing your site clearly, using alt texts for images, ensuring keyboard navigability, and checking color contrasts. Regularly test your site with accessibility tools and feedback from users with disabilities. Implementing these changes can make your website more welcoming and compliant with accessibility standards.

What Legal Risks Are Associated With Non-Accessible Websites?

Non-compliance can lead to legal issues, including lawsuits and fines, under laws such as the ADA in the U.S. and similar regulations in other countries. In 2022, there were 2,387 web accessibility lawsuits in the U.S., highlighting the importance of adherence to web accessibility guidelines.

How Can Clym Help with Web Accessibility?

Clym provides tools to manage privacy and web accessibility compliance, aligning with WCAG 2.1 standards. It offers a platform with customizable settings, helping businesses improve their website’s accessibility design and avoid legal risks. Clym's features include seamless integration, customization, compliance coverage for privacy regulations, and accessibility adjustments for users.