Best Practices for Designing Accessible Websites

Web accessibility is crucial for ensuring that all users, regardless of their abilities or disabilities, can access and interact with your website. This article explores best practices for designing accessible websites, helping you create inclusive digital experiences.

Principles of Accessible Design


Ensure content is perceivable by all users:

  • Provide text alternatives for non-text content
  • Create content that can be presented in different ways
  • Make it easier for users to see and hear content


Make the interface operable by all users:

  • Ensure all functionality is available from a keyboard
  • Give users enough time to read and use content
  • Do not use content that causes seizures or physical reactions
  • Help users navigate and find content


Make content understandable:

  • Make text readable and understandable
  • Make content appear and operate in predictable ways
  • Help users avoid and correct mistakes


Content must be robust enough to be interpreted by various devices:

  • Maximize compatibility with current and future user tools
  • Use clean, standards-compliant code

Accessibility Guidelines

WCAG 2.1

The Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.1 provide a comprehensive framework:

  • Understand the three levels of conformance: A, AA, and AAA
  • Aim for at least WCAG 2.1 Level AA compliance
  • Regularly review and update your site to meet evolving standards

ARIA (Accessible Rich Internet Applications)

Use ARIA to enhance accessibility of dynamic content and advanced user interface controls:

  • Apply ARIA roles, states, and properties appropriately
  • Use ARIA landmarks to improve navigation
  • Ensure ARIA attributes are used correctly and do not conflict with HTML5 semantics

Implementing Accessible Design

Keyboard Accessibility

Ensure all functionality is accessible via keyboard:

  • Implement logical tab order
  • Provide visible focus indicators
  • Ensure all interactive elements are keyboard operable

Color Contrast

Maintain sufficient color contrast for readability:

  • Ensure text has a contrast ratio of at least 4.5:1 against its background
  • Use tools like WebAIM’s Contrast Checker to verify contrast ratios
  • Don’t rely solely on color to convey information

Alt Text for Images

Provide descriptive alt text for images:

  • Write concise, meaningful descriptions of images
  • Use empty alt attributes for decorative images
  • Include relevant keywords in alt text for SEO benefits

Testing for Accessibility

Automated Testing Tools

Use automated tools to identify potential accessibility issues:

  • WAVE (Web Accessibility Evaluation Tool)
  • axe by Deque Systems
  • Lighthouse in Google Chrome DevTools

Manual Testing

Conduct manual tests to identify issues that automated tools might miss:

  • Test keyboard navigation and functionality
  • Use screen readers to evaluate content comprehension
  • Verify proper heading structure and content organization

Case Studies and Examples

Examples of Accessible Websites

Highlighting websites with excellent accessibility practices:

  • Example 1: Government website showcasing comprehensive accessibility features
  • Example 2: E-commerce site with inclusive design and navigation

Client Case Studies

Real-world examples of accessibility improvements:

  • Case study 1: How Company X improved user engagement by 30% through accessibility enhancements
  • Case study 2: Non-profit organization expands reach with accessible website redesign


Designing accessible websites is not just about compliance; it’s about creating inclusive digital experiences that benefit all users. By following these best practices and continuously testing and improving your website’s accessibility, you can ensure that your content is available to the widest possible audience, enhance user satisfaction, and potentially increase your reach and engagement.

Call to Action

Ready to make your website more accessible? Contact Jeremy Webb Dev today for expert assistance in implementing accessibility best practices and creating an inclusive online presence that welcomes all users.

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