We care about Accessible Website Design. Here’s why you should too.

What is an accessible website?

Website accessibility is the inclusive practice of designing websites with no barriers to users. It is made up of a number of different elements. There are visual components like using legible typography, meeting the contrast ratio, and having text and images that adapt to different screen sizes. Then there is the code, which can be optimised for text-to-speech software and text-to-Braille hardware. And there is the accessibility of the content that lives on the site. Are animations free from strobing or flashing? Are videos closed captioned or signed? Are written communications in plain English? A fully accessible website satisfies all of these and more.

Web accessibility is for everyone

Accessibility is best approached as a mission that impacts and benefits us all. It goes beyond only catering to those with ongoing disabilities. Most of us are heavily reliant on the internet. We use it to shop, pay bills, work, have fun, and stay fit. Anyone who has ever had a child, broken their arm, or struggled to get online from a rural location will have become aware of web accessibility, or the lack of it. Where you are in the world, how much money you have, even your age – all these factors impact accessibility.

Protect your reputation and your bottom line

Accessible website design is not a passing fad, but a core business concern. The spending power of disabled households worldwide is currently estimated at £6.75 trillion. In the UK alone £17.1 billion of business was lost in 2019 because potential customers clicked away due to accessibility issues.1 An accessible website encourages user engagement and increases conversion rates.

The World Wide Web Consortium publishes guidelines to web accessibility called the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG). Within this there are three levels of compliance – A, AA and AAA with AA considered the acceptable standard for the majority of websites. Having a more accessible website can boost its ranking in search engine results. Fully accessible sites command fierce loyalty and enjoy repeat business.

Progress proceeds perfection

With so much at stake, the task of tackling web accessibility can seem overwhelming. Happily there are tools out there to help you. Start with an accessibility audit so that you know how accessible your site currently is and which areas to prioritise. Share this with your users via an accessibility statement, explaining how you are working to improve. Making an established website accessible is a marathon not a sprint and your users will appreciate your transparency and honesty along the way.

Our approach to accessible website design

We consider accessibility from the outset of any new project. Designing with accessibility front of mind saves time, money, and stress down the line. We take a holistic approach to website accessibility, considering the way a site looks, how the information is organised, the content strategy, and the desired outcomes.

We know from experience that accessible sites can be stylish, exciting and unique. Take a look at how we incorporated accessible website design into some of our recent work:

Every image featured on the British Bryological Society website has a clear and concise descriptive tag accompanying it. These appear when you hover the cursor over the image and can also be read by text-to-speech software and text-to-Braille hardware.An example of high-end website design visualised on a laptop device

While building Animal Aid Unlimited’s new website, we worked to the principles of digital inclusion to ensure that the website looks great and performs well on all devices, to reach as wide an audience as possible.AAU a high quality charity website visualised on a laptop

One of the key features we designed for Rollaturf’s revamped website was the “turf calculator”, which enables users to easily work out how much turf they need. The calculator meets the WCAG contrast threshold and features large buttons with highly legible typography.Rollaturf turf calculator visualised on a desktop device

Want to know more?

Find out how you can boost your web accessibility. Call us on 01903 654 036 or email info@castlegateit.co.uk

1 https://www.clickawaypound.com/downloads/CAP2019PR2.pdf