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Where to start when making your website disability friendly

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Why is making your website disability friendly important? 

Even though 16% of the global population, or approximately 1.3 billion people, live with some form of disability, a staggering 98% of websites fail to meet the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG).  

1. Parity in digital access 

Everyone, regardless of their physical or cognitive abilities, should have equal access to information and digital resources. While a vast majority of websites globally lack accessible and inclusive content, prioritising website accessibility is critical not only for ethical reasons but also for the significant organisational benefits it can bring.   

2. It opens up your market 

The often-overlooked disability market encompasses 16 million people in the UK alone (24% of the total UK population). Companies neglecting to make their websites accessible to people with disabilities suffered a potential revenue loss of £17.1 billion in 2019. Globally, millions of people with disabilities face challenges navigating the web. By designing websites with these users in mind, companies can tap into a larger market and avoid excluding potential users or customers. 

3. It supports your SEO 

Making your website inclusive also holds SEO benefits. Web accessibility features, such as alternative text for images, tend to improve a site's Search Engine Optimisation (SEO). Search engines favour websites that are accessible to a wider audience, hence inclusive sites are likely to rank higher in search results. 

4. It supports DE&I initiatives 

Furthermore, businesses and organisations are increasingly acknowledging their responsibility in advancing social causes. Integrating web accessibility serves as a strong indicator of company’s commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion. 

5. It's a legal requirement in many sectors 

When WCAG were set out as recommendations by the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) many countries, including the UK, began to use their framework as a legal minimal requirement for public sector websites and, increasingly now, for private sector websites as well. 

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The Four Principles of Website Accessibility and Inclusivity 

If you want to ensure that your website is inclusive and accessible to everyone, it is essential that you adhere to four fundamental principles

First, evaluate the perceivability of your website. Can users understand the information presented on your website regardless of their sensory abilities? For instance, consider providing text alternatives for non-text content, such as images, to allow individuals with visual impairments to access the information through methods like braille or speech. 

Second, ensure that your website is operable. This means making sure that users are able to interact with interfaces without encountering tasks they can't perform. For example, providing keyboard accessibility enables individuals with disabilities to navigate websites without relying on a mouse. 

Third, make sure that your website is understandable. It's important for users to understand both the information presented and how to navigate user interfaces effectively. This entails ensuring that information is clear and easily comprehensible, and that instructions are provided when necessary. For instance, labels and instructions should accompany interactive elements like sign-up or login forms, ensuring users know how to input information correctly.  

Fourth, maintain the robustness of your website. This means that as new technologies emerge, the content on your website should remain accessible to all users. Content needs to be structured in a way that ensures it can be reliably understood by different user agents, including assistive technologies. For example, by correctly coding content in markup languages with complete start and end tags, it ensures that user agents can properly interpret and display the content without encountering errors or crashing. This approach ensures that content remains accessible and usable over time. 

Collectively, these 4 principles inform compliance criteria that assess the accessibility of a website. Level A is the minimum level of accessibility, and Level AAA is the highest, most stringent level of accessibility. Within the UK, it is a legal requirement for public sector websites and mobile apps to meet an AA level of compliance. 

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Following WCAG 2.2 Guidelines, we have compiled 7 Key Strategies that you can use to enhance your Website Accessibility and Inclusivity:  

1. Ensure Visibility of Focused Items. 

When an element receives focus, whether through keyboard navigation or assistive technology, it should be visible on the page without being obscured by other elements. This ensures that users who rely on keyboard navigation can easily identify which element has focus. To maintain visibility, ensure that when an item gains keyboard focus, it remains at least partially visible. For example, when a user tabs into the search bar, it should be visible on the screen. This could be achieved by highlighting its border or changing its background colour, indicating to the user that it is currently in focus and ready for input. 

2. Enhance Keyboard Focus Visibility. 

More than 2.2 billion people globally have visual impairments. To accommodate users who may have difficulty discerning small visual changes, including older people, it is essential you make keyboard focus indicators contrasting and reasonably sized. A common solution is applying a solid outline of at least 2px thickness around the focused element. Other effective indicators you could use include contrasting lines or blocks either inside or around the element.  

3. Avoid reliance on dragging actions. 

Dragging actions can pose challenges for individuals with dexterity disabilities who may struggle to manipulate a mouse in this manner. Therefore, it's imperative to provide alternative methods for interacting with components that involve dragging. Offer simple pointer alternatives to ensure all users can achieve the same outcomes without relying solely on dragging actions. For example, instead of dragging items to reorder them on your website, provide alternative options like arrow buttons or dropdown menus to accommodate users with dexterity disabilities, ensuring accessibility for all. 

4. Facilitate easy activation of controls. 

For users with physical impairments, clicking small buttons positioned closely together can be challenging. To address this, ensure that clickable elements on your website have a minimum size of 24 x 24 pixels to facilitate easy clicking. Exceptions may apply based on spacing, equivalent interactive elements, inline placement, or default user agent control settings. 

5. Ensure accessibility of help and support features. 

Consistently placing help and support options throughout a website facilitates ease of access for users seeking assistance. To ensure assistance features’ accessibility make sure that links or icons related to support, such as a chat icon or a chatbot, remain consistently positioned across all pages. This will enable users to easily locate help resources during their navigation. 

6. Avoid redundant data entry. 

Simplify multi-step processes to accommodate users with cognitive disabilities who may struggle with memory recall. To enhance user experience and ease cognitive load, refrain from asking for identical information more than once during a single session. For instance, you could streamline the signup process to your website by requesting the individual's name, email, and address together on a single page, such as a unified registration form. This way, your website users only need to input their details once, reducing the cognitive effort required to remember and input the same information multiple times. 

7. Ensure accessible authentication methods. 

To ensure accessible authentication methods, simplify the process. For example, instead of using complex puzzles, one-time passcodes, or memorisation tasks, implement user-friendly options like allowing users to copy and paste passwords or supporting password managers. This approach makes authentication more straightforward and user-friendly for all individuals.  



To sum up, making your website accessible for individuals with disabilities is critical for providing equal access to digital resources. 

Despite the large percentage of the population living with disabilities, most websites fail to meet accessibility standards. Prioritising accessibility will not only position your company as socially responsible, but also offer significant benefits for your organisation, including an opportunity to expand your website’s reach and boost SEO processes. 

By adhering to the four fundamental principles of perceivability, operability, understandability, and robustness, alongside implementing key strategies outlined above, your website can become more inclusive for all.