As interactions and transactions continue to go digital, it is more important than ever to ensure your website, digital content, and environments are accessible to users with disabilities. Not accounting for the needs of your website users who utilize assistive technology is a massive oversight, and can create barriers for those users and liability for your business.
For users with disabilities, first impressions are important. Websites that aren’t easily accessible may prompt them to leave, causing drops in traffic, leads, and click-through rates. These users may never return to your site and fail to recommend it to others in a fast-growing, loyalty-driven market demographic.
The ongoing global public health crisis has continued to push the issues of web accessibility and inclusive design to the forefront. COVID-19 is changing the way people communicate, shop, and access goods and services online. Easy-to-access web content is imperative right now.
Accessible Websites Don’t Have to Be Boring or Plain
A consistent refrain from web designers who are given the responsibility of accessibility is: “How can accessible design be dynamic, engaging, or aesthetic?” Accessibility can be mistakenly seen as a threat to good web design because designers get overwhelmed with the thought of having to comply with another set of boring technical standards.
But accessible websites don’t have to be boring. They can be captivating, aesthetically pleasing, and even cutting-edge, with fun and easy-to-understand designs—while also adhering to WCAG 2.1 guidelines. Universally designed web elements often improve the experience for every user, and there are many examples of great web design that are also accessible!
Accessible Web Design Examples
There are many examples of great accessible web design, but we wanted to focus on a few across a spectrum of industries that you can draw from as you evaluate your own website accessibility goals. These examples showcase design elements that help make dynamic websites accessible.
What do these sites have in common?
- Solid visual design with accessibility in mind
- A well-organised and semantically structured content layout providing overall accessibility support for alternative navigation and wayfinding approaches (via keyboard or screen reader)
- Good support of descriptions and feedback messages for visitors accessing with assistive software
- Strong brand identity and language
- Exceptional and sleek design over competitors sites in the same market segment
Is Your Website Accessible?
Website accessibility testing can help determine if your site/blog/content is user-friendly for everyone and accessible for users with disabilities. This type of user testing may be confusing for web developers and businesses unfamiliar with WCAG 2.1 standards. Some specific questions to consider include:
- Does your website’s coding work with screen readers?
- Is your keyboard navigation working properly?
- Are navigational headings clearly presented in an orderly and organized way?
Seven Steps of Website Accessibility Testing
We’ve broken website accessibility testing into seven simple steps to help you organize and track progress against your accessibility testing goals:
- Create your digital accessibility policy.
- Share your plan with your team.
- Begin with automated testing.
- Run an in-depth, detailed audit of your digital properties.
- Include user testing.
- Fix, test, verify, repeat.
- Prepare to scale, track your progress, and train your team.
Designing Beautiful, Accessible Websites
It’s more important than ever to keep in mind users with disabilities while designing and building websites, but that doesn’t have to negatively impact the overall design or aesthetic quality of the site. Websites can be fun, visually stimulating, and accessible to everyone. There are plenty of great, accessible web design examples across different sectors and businesses that you can gather inspiration from.
If you’re looking for more information on how to design and build your website to be accessible, usable, and follow all standards and guidelines, check out our ADA Web Compliance Checklist.