A Comprehensive Guide to Designing an Accessible Website

Over the years, the importance of inclusivity has become increasingly recognized in various areas of society. From education to transportation and beyond, efforts are being made to ensure that everyone has equal access and opportunities. But accessibility doesn’t just apply to physical spaces – it also applies to web design.

In fact, the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) requires the vast majority of businesses to follow specific accessibility standards when designing their websites. However, web accessibility shouldn’t be viewed as a mere legal obligation. Instead, it is an opportunity to reach a wider audience and make your website more user-friendly for all.

Think about it – millions of people around the world have some form of disability that may affect their ability to use a website. You wouldn’t turn away potential customers by making your store inaccessible, so why do the same with your website?

In this comprehensive guide, we will discuss everything you need to know about designing accessible websites. From understanding the importance of web accessibility to implementing specific elements, we will cover it all. Let’s get started!

Understanding Web Accessibility


Let’s start with the basics – what exactly is web accessibility?

In simple terms, it refers to designing and developing a website in a way that makes it usable for people with disabilities. Basically, website accessibility helps ensure that those with visual, auditory, physical, or cognitive disabilities can access and use a website just like any other user. This can be achieved through a combination of design elements, coding techniques, and assistive technologies.

However, web accessibility isn’t just limited to users with disabilities. It also benefits older adults, individuals with temporary impairments, and more. By designing for accessibility, you are improving the overall user experience for everyone.

How to Overcome Accessibility Barriers

Now, let’s go over the steps we can take to create an accessible website for all users.

To do this, we must also address the common accessibility barriers that users may face. After all, how can we come up with solutions if we don’t understand the problems?

Here are five common accessibility barriers that users may experience and the steps we can take to overcome them:

    1. Poor Color Contrast

People with visual impairments, such as color blindness and low vision, may have difficulty reading text if the color contrast is too low. This can make it challenging for them to navigate web pages and understand the content.

So, if your website uses light colors against a light background or dark colors against a dark background, it’s time to reconsider your color choices. While it may fit your aesthetic, it also isolates a large portion of users.


Web designers can overcome this barrier by using high color contrast between text and background colors. The Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) recommends a contrast ratio of at least 4.5:1 for regular text and 3:1 for large text. There are also plenty of free online tools available to check the contrast ratio of your website’s colors.

    2. Lack of “Alt Text” on Images

It’s common practice to use images on a web page to add visual appeal and break up large chunks of text. However, these images can present a significant barrier for blind users or those with visual impairments if no text alternatives (“alt text”) are available.

Alt text describes the content of an image and allows users to read it aloud for those who cannot see it. Without alt text, these users miss out on important information and cannot fully engage with your website’s content.


To make your website more accessible, it’s essential to provide alt text assistive technology for all relevant images. This includes charts, graphs, and other visual elements that may not seem necessary to describe at first glance. The alt text should be concise but descriptive enough to convey the image’s meaning accurately. WCAG suggests using “null” (empty) alt text for decorative images that don’t add any context or information to the page.

    3. Inaccessible Online Forms

Online forms are an integral part of many websites, used for various purposes such as contact forms, surveys, and registration forms. But these forms can pose significant accessibility barriers if not designed correctly.

Here are some common issues with online forms that can make them inaccessible to users with disabilities:

  • Lack of proper labeling: Form fields need to be clearly labeled so that screen readers can read them aloud for visually impaired users. Without proper labeling, these users may not know what information is required in a particular field or how to proceed with the form.
  • Insufficient error feedback: When a user makes a mistake while filling out a form, it’s crucial to provide clear and concise error messages. However, many forms fail to do so, leaving users confused about what went wrong and how to fix it.


When creating online forms, it’s essential to follow WCAG guidelines for accessibility. This includes using proper labeling for form fields and providing error messages that are easy to understand. Additionally, forms should be designed with keyboard navigation in mind, allowing users to tab through fields and submit the form without relying on a mouse.

    4. Lack of Video Captions

If a website contains videos, it’s important to provide captions for users who are deaf or hard of hearing. Captions are a text version of the audio in a video, allowing these users to follow along with the content.

However, many website owners fail to provide captions for their videos, making them inaccessible to this group of users. This is not only a violation of accessibility standards but also excludes a significant portion of your audience from accessing your video content.


To make videos accessible, website owners should provide captions for all their videos. Additionally, they can also offer transcripts of the video’s audio, which allows users to read the entire script instead of just the spoken words.

    5. Mouse-Only Navigation

Using a mouse to navigate a website is common for most users. However, it can be challenging or impossible for some individuals with disabilities.

For example, individuals with motor disabilities may have difficulty controlling and moving a mouse cursor accurately. This issue becomes even more frustrating when critical elements of the website, such as menus or links, can only be accessed through a mouse.


To make websites accessible to individuals with motor disabilities, website owners should design them with keyboard navigation. This means that all important elements of the website, such as menus and links, should be easily accessible using only a keyboard.


As you can see, there are many ways to make a website more accessible for individuals with disabilities. From providing captions for videos to designing with keyboard navigation in mind, every small change can make a big difference.

If you need help with making your website more accessible, the Ayokay team is here to assist you. We believe in creating an inclusive online experience for all users, and we are dedicated to helping businesses achieve that goal.

Contact us today to learn more about our web design services.