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Feb 29, 2024

Accessible By Design: Key Principles for Creating User-Friendly Websites

Educational Articles

Accessibility is important, both online and off the web. Learn more about what makes a website accessible and how to check if your website is properly inclusive.

Web accessibility is about making websites usable for everyone, including those with disabilities. It ensures that people with various impairments, such as visual, auditory, or motor limitations, can easily navigate and interact with your online content.

Web accessibility is all about inclusivity. When websites are accessible, they cater to a diverse audience, making the internet a safe space for everyone. Imagine trying to use a website without a mouse or relying solely on a screen reader; that's where web accessibility steps in, creating a productive experience for all users. 

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) also mandates accessibility for all websites, as they are classified as public places under the jurisdiction of the Department of Justice (DOJ). Therefore, non-compliance with web accessibility standards is a violation of the ADA. Although the ADA itself does not explicitly outline specific technical standards for web accessibility, the DOJ recommends that businesses use the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) to assess the accessibility of your digital content and web accessibility. Without proper accessibility practices in place, your website is not compliant with the law and you are vulnerable to potential lawsuits. 

In this blog post, we'll explain the tools and practices that ensure proper web accessibility. We'll explore the functionalities of a website accessibility checker, understand the best ways to follow website accessibility standards to ensure your business is both compliant and protected. Ready to explore the world of web accessibility with us? Let's get started.

Understanding Web Accessibility

Web accessibility is the practice of designing and developing websites so that everyone, regardless of ability or disability, can access and use them effortlessly. It's like building a ramp for wheelchair users, but in the digital world. Web accessibility ensures that people with disabilities can navigate, understand, and interact with online content easily. This not only enhances the user experience but also reflects a commitment to inclusivity.

Key Principles of Web Accessibility 

Perceivable: Information and user interface components must be presented in ways that users can perceive. This involves providing text alternatives for non-text content, making it accessible to screen readers.

Operable: Users should be able to interact with and navigate the website easily. This includes practices like keyboard accessibility, allowing users to move through the site without a mouse.

Understandable: Information and operation of the user interface must be clear and straightforward. Users shouldn't be left puzzled about how to navigate or understand the content.

Robust: The content should be compatible with current and future technologies, ensuring that it remains accessible as technology evolves.

These principles, often summarized as POUR, guide the development of accessible websites. By adhering to these principles, websites become more inclusive, fostering an environment where everyone, regardless of abilities, can participate in your digital offerings. 

Website Accessibility Checker

Accessibility checkers are digital tools designed to evaluate how accessible a website is to all users, especially those with disabilities. Think of them as virtual inspectors that scan your site, ensuring it meets the necessary criteria for inclusivity. These tools analyze various elements, from text alternatives for images to keyboard navigation, helping you identify and address potential barriers to accessibility.

Benefits of Using Website Accessibility Checker Tools 

The advantages of employing website accessibility checker tools are obvious. First and foremost, they provide a systematic evaluation of your website's accessibility, offering insights into areas that may need improvement. This proactive approach not only ensures compliance with website accessibility standards but also enhances the overall user experience. By identifying and rectifying accessibility issues early on, you contribute to a more inclusive online environment and reach a broader audience.

Popular Website Accessibility Checker Tools in the Market 

Several user-friendly website accessibility checker tools dominate the market. Notable options include:

WAVE (Web Accessibility Evaluation Tool): A comprehensive tool that identifies and reports accessibility and Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) errors on your website.

axe Accessibility Checker: This browser extension detects and helps resolve accessibility issues, offering real-time feedback as you navigate your site.

Siteimprove Accessibility Checker: Known for its simplicity, this tool scans your pages for accessibility errors, making it suitable for users at all experience levels.

Google Lighthouse: Beyond accessibility, Lighthouse assesses overall website performance, providing a comprehensive view of your site's strengths and areas for improvement.

Integrating these tools into your website accessibility checking process ensures a proactive approach to accessibility, aligning with both website accessibility standards and best practices in the world of custom web development.

Website Accessibility Standards

Web accessibility standards are guidelines that ensure websites are designed and developed to be inclusive and usable for everyone, regardless of their abilities. These standards set a framework for creating digital spaces that cater to a diverse audience. The focus is on making sure websites can be easily navigated and understood by people with varying disabilities. Adhering to these standards is a fundamental step toward fostering a more accessible online world.

About WCAG

The most widely recognized set of web accessibility standards is the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG). These guidelines, developed by the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C), provide a comprehensive framework for creating accessible websites. They cover various aspects, including perceptible information, operable user interfaces, understandable content, and robust technology. By following WCAG, web developers and site owners can ensure their websites are accessible to a broad range of users, boosting your scores on website accessibility checker tools and ensuring protection from potential lawsuits and other liabilities.

Actionable Tips To Make Your Website More Accessible

Enhancing your website’s accessibility involves implementing various design and content strategies to ensure inclusivity for users with diverse needs. 

Website Forms

One crucial aspect is proper structuring of web forms; placing field names above rather than within the fields helps screen readers provide accurate information to users. This practice aids individuals with disabilities, such as visual or cognitive impairments, by providing a more intuitive flow through the form. Moreover, it supports keyboard navigation, allowing users to navigate seamlessly between fields. 

Header Tags & Page Flow

In terms of your content hierarchy, using appropriate header tags, such as <h1> to <h6>, better organizes information and assists screen readers in interpreting the page's structure. Ensuring a logical reading order for screen readers is also important, such as arranging your content in a sequence that aligns with the visual layout which guarantees a more coherent experience for all users.

Visual Accommodation

Integrating concise and descriptive alternative text (alt tags) for images aids in comprehension for individuals relying on screen readers. Additionally, incorporating resizable text options and maintaining a sufficient color contrast between text and background also aids those with visual limitations.

Keyboard Navigation

Providing keyboard navigation alternatives is crucial for those who may not use a mouse. Users should be able to navigate through the entire site using only the keyboard, enhancing accessibility for individuals with motor impairments. 


Captioning multimedia content, such as videos, benefits users with hearing impairments, ensuring they can access and comprehend the information presented. Offering transcripts for audio content supports inclusivity even further.

Buttons & Links

Properly naming buttons and links is critical for web accessibility as it directly impacts the user's understanding and interaction with your digital content. Clear and descriptive labels provide essential context for users relying on screen readers, enabling them to navigate websites with precision. Thoughtful button and link naming not only enhances the overall user experience, but adheres to accessibility standards.

Regular Accessibility Audits

Regularly testing the website with accessibility tools and conducting user testing with individuals with diverse abilities helps identify and address potential barriers. Maintaining compliance with Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) and staying informed about updates in accessibility standards ensures ongoing inclusivity. 


In conclusion, web accessibility is a foundational aspect of creating a digital space that is inclusive and welcoming for everyone. By adhering to web accessibility standards and regularly using a web accessibility checker to ensure compliance with WCAG standards, you can ensure that your site is useful to people with different abilities. By implementing the accessibility practices outlined in this article, you can ensure equal access to your information, products and services. 

As we wrap up, we will once again encourage the implementation of accessibility measures. Small changes, such as using alt text for images or improving keyboard navigation, can make a significant difference. Every effort towards accessibility contributes to a more inclusive online environment, benefiting a broader audience. Not only do these practices make your website easier to use for those with different abilities, but you protect yourself from potential lawsuits by ensuring that your site is accessible to all. 

Need help understanding the results of your web accessibility audit or interested in making some changes to your website to ensure better accessibility? Schedule a meeting today with one of our web development experts to explore the ways that we can use our skills and knowledge to improve your business website or Shopify store. 

For those looking to dive deeper into web accessibility, consider exploring tools like website accessibility checkers for immediate insights. Additionally, web development services specializing in custom solutions can guide you in creating accessible websites. Organizations like the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) offer comprehensive resources and guidelines, including the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG), for a deeper understanding of web accessibility standards. Remember, making your digital space accessible is an ongoing journey, start today for a more inclusive tomorrow.


Works Cited“Does My Website Have to Be ADA Compliant?” AudioEye, 15 Dec. 2021, www.audioeye.com/post/does-my-website-have-to-be-ada-compliant/#:~:text=The%20ADA%20Requires%20All%20Websites%20be%20Accessible&text=In%20other%20words%3A%20If%20your. Accessed 28 Feb. 2024.