For those who don’t know, an accessible website is one that accommodates all users on all devices no matter the physical or mental ability of the user. Alternatively stated, website accessibility implies making sure that your website is designed in a way such that visitors with disabilities can use it without bother.
Website accessibility is now mandated by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), so accessibility is not just a good-to-have anymore. In fact, failing to make your website accessible leaves your business exposed to costly lawsuits. Talks about website accessibility have increased in recent years and 2018 observed an 181% rise in Federal ADA lawsuits over 2017.
Now, there’s no denying there are many accessible websites out there that are downright ugly. That said, it’s nothing but a myth (prevailing due to technical limitations that existed years ago) that you have to sacrifice good design for accessibility. These limitations were much more prohibitive for designers back then and text-only content was usually viewed as the best way to attain accessibility.
Today, however, accessible websites can be loaded with images and videos, as long as you include alt text and captions. Besides, there are countless inaccessible websites that are just as hideous.
Sure, there are a few color contrast constraints, but there’s absolutely no reason why you can’t create a beautiful, interactive and engaging website that is also accessible. A few adjustments can lead to a website that’s aesthetically pleasing and user-friendly for everyone, as it should be.
As you’ll see below, there are some truly gorgeous sites that are fully accessible to users with disabilities. Feel free to take inspiration from them to make your own website accessible.
1. Deque Systems
Deque is a digital accessibility company that helps other companies in making their websites and mobile applications accessible to people with disabilities. It doesn’t come as a surprise then that their own website is perfectly accessible, complete with an accessibility statement that summarizes all the accessibility features on their site.
All non-text elements on the website have alt text, navigational aids (for keyboard-only users) are provided, forms are linked with labels, table navigation guidance is provided, and structural markup to indicate headings and lists is also available. Plus, the colors are distinct and buttons are well-designed, making this a beautiful yet accessible website.
Website accessibility is an indispensable part of creating a solid user experience. Nomensa, being an award-winning UX design agency, has a well-designed accessible website of their own, as you’d expect.
They too are declaring their target level of accessibility and how they are attaining ADA compliance by publishing an accessibility statement on their website.
Out of the three levels of accessibility (A, AA and AAA) in the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.1 by the World Wide Consortium (W3C), they’ve chosen the Level AA as their target level of accessibility.
3. Parramatta Park
By employing striking colors and high-quality photos from the park, Parramatta Park’s website is very easy on the eyes, not just for the average audience but also for visitors with vision issues.
The clever color contrast, font selection, link styling, element sizing, code structure, alt tags, and background images make this an accessible website that looks great.
Over to you
The new decade is finally here, and it’s about time you make sure your website is accessible for everyone. Start by adding alt text to all images, picking the right font, verifying color contrast, ensuring keyboard-friendliness, and publishing an accessibility statement.
Making your site accessible to all will not only protect your business from expensive web accessibility lawsuits, but it will also help expand your potential client base and bring in more sales.