Web Accessibility: Benefits and implications in Web Design

Accessibility for the Web

Every day, approximately four billion people browse the Web. They use it to stay updated with the latest news, shop from the comfort of their homes, and remain connected in an increasingly digital our current society, the internet has become an essential communication tool for everyone, including people with disabilities. It's crucial for web developers and online businesses to understand that certain design choices can inadvertently create barriers, preventing users from accessing content. With around 2.2 billion individuals living with visual impairments or blindness worldwide, the urgency to make online platforms accessible cannot be overstated.

What is Accessible Web Content?

Accessible web content is media that's been crafted and developed so that everyone, regardless of health conditions or impairments, can easily consume and interact with it. This includes accommodating:

  • Various devices used by people with disabilities (e.g., hands-free mice, text-reading cameras, Braille smartphone keyboards).
  • A spectrum of permanent, temporary, and situational impairments and disabilities (e.g., difficulty reading in a moving vehicle).
  • The evolving abilities associated with aging.

In essence, Web Accessibility means designing or adapting websites to ensure they don't prevent impaired individuals from accessing or interacting with online content. This promotes inclusion, autonomy, privacy, and personal development. Non-accessible websites impact not only people with disabilities but also create barriers for any user accessing the site under challenging conditions. These scenarios, increasingly common, lead to what are known as artificial impairments.

Examples include:

Artificial Vision Impairment:

  • Bright daylight while using smartphones can simulate impaired vision. Low contrast between background and text becomes harder to read, affecting the user's experience significantly.

Artificial Arthritis and/or Tremors:

  • Using a smartphone while walking can simulate the effects of arthritis or tremors. Small buttons and targets become difficult to interact with, hindering smooth website navigation.

Artificial Hearing Impairment:

  • Attempting to watch a video in a noisy environment simulates hearing loss. Lack of subtitles on your website's videos can significantly impede communication with your audience.

Benefits of Implementing Web Accessibility

Web accessibility not only enhances the inclusion of individuals with disabilities but also improves overall user experience. Additional benefits include:

  • Improved SEO: Accessible websites have clearer navigation texts (e.g., “learn more about our services” instead of just “learn more”). This leads to higher search engine rankings due to the increased use of relevant keywords.
  • Enhanced Mobile Usability: With mobile traffic accounting for over 50% of web usage, responsive design is essential. Accessible websites improve mobile usability, significantly enhancing the experience for users with low vision and general users alike.
  • Better User Experience: Websites that lack sufficient contrast, have small text, or feature disappearing menus are challenging for all users. Adhering to accessibility guidelines not only helps those using assistive technologies but also improves the overall user experience.

Evaluating Accessibility

Understanding the importance of accessibility is one thing; implementing it is another. The Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) by the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) set the international standard for accessible web content. These guidelines are applicable to dynamic content, multimedia, mobile platforms, and more, ensuring web content is accessible to people with disabilities globally.

The Success Criteria: WCAG 2.2, released on October 5, 2023, outlines 13 guidelines organized under four principles: perceivable, operable, understandable, and robust. Compliance is measured through testable success criteria across three levels: A (must have), AA (should have), and AAA (good to have).

Meeting these criteria signifies conformance to WCAG. Learn how to meet these guidelines here. Additionally, websites like UserWay  and AccessibilityChecker offer tools to audit your site's accessibility and provide scores corresponding to the WCAG levels, helping you start and progressively improve.

Quick Improvements for Website Accessibility

Making your website more accessible doesn't have to be a daunting task. By focusing on a few key areas, you can significantly improve the experience for all users, including those with disabilities. Here are three easy-to-implement tips that can make a substantial difference:

Logic and Structure

Think of your website as a narrative, with each piece of information playing a part in a larger story. Information should be organized logically and purposefully. Screen readers, which are often used by visually impaired individuals, interpret text in a sequential and hierarchical manner. If your website has an attractive design but lacks a well-thought-out structure, screen readers may present the content in a disorganized fashion, confusing the end-user. Pay careful attention to your use of heading labels and overall structure to ensure your content is accessible and understandable.

Images and Alt Text

Images play a crucial role in conveying information that isn't explicitly stated through text, such as emotions, product uses, or context. For people with visual impairments, screen readers can interpret images through alternative text (alt text). Effective alt text should describe the purpose of an image beyond its obvious appearance. Ask yourself why you chose to use an image instead of text. This reflection will help you craft alt text that conveys a meaningful and descriptive message. Additionally, for decorative images that add no informational value, tools like Webflow allow you to mark them as decorative, so screen readers will bypass them, preventing unnecessary clutter.


While animations can enhance a website's visual appeal, they can also create barriers for people with disabilities if not implemented thoughtfully. Animations should be used sparingly and designed in a way that doesn't negatively affect accessibility. Certain animations may not activate under the conditions that navigation tools for visually impaired users rely on, potentially making your site difficult to use or even entirely inaccessible. Before adding any animation, consider its impact on all users, especially those using assistive technologies.

By implementing these three tips, you can take significant steps toward making your website more inclusive and accessible to everyone. Remember, accessibility is not a one-time task but an ongoing commitment to ensuring your digital content can be enjoyed by all.











WCAG 2 Overview



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