Developing accessible websites requires thoughtful planning. Woman at computer while colleague looks on.

21 ways to make your website more accessible to people with disabilities

It is important to make a website accessible because it ensures that people with disabilities can use and access your website just like anyone else. 

As Artist Dynamix, we made our website accessible last year, and the feedback from users has been encouraging. Just last week, I was on a Zoom call with a potential fulfillment partner and she said, “This is impressive. I have never seen this before on a website. It is such a thoughtful and useful thing to have. You need to tell everyone about this feature.”

And that is what we are doing now.

When websites are not accessible, people with disabilities, who make up about 20% of the global population, may not be able to fully participate in online activities, access important information, or use products or services that are available online. 

This can lead to social exclusion, reduced opportunities, and a lower quality of life for people with disabilities. For business owners, it can mean lawsuits, as in the United States the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) mandates that websites should be accessible to everyone.

Legal issues aside, creating an accessible website is not only the right thing to do, but it also makes good business sense. By making your website accessible, you make your content and services available to the widest possible audience, which can help to increase your reach and impact.

There are several things you can do to make a website accessible for people with disabilities and comply with ADA. Here are some of the most important things you can do. It’s quite a list and may seem daunting, but read through to the end for a quick way to implement all these changes using Artist Dynamix’s quick three-step process.

Team brainstorming a design project at a whiteboard.

1. Page Titles

Use descriptive and meaningful titles for each page on your website. This helps users with cognitive disabilities and those who use screen readers to understand the content of each page.

For instance ‘Website Design Guide’ is not as good a title as ’15 tips to help you build your first WordPress website.’ The latter tells the user exactly what to expect on the page. 

2. Alt Text for Images

Adding alt text to images on your website ensures that screen readers can read the description of the image, making it accessible to people who are visually impaired. ‘alt text’ is short for ‘alternative text.’ 

A good way to think about it is if an image did not display for whatever reason when someone was viewing your webpage, what text would best help them understand what the image was about. Alt text appears on the screen when an image cannot be downloaded. It is used by screen readers for visually impaired people. It is also used by search engines to help them understand and index images.

3. Keyboard Navigation

Make sure that all of the website’s functionality can be accessed using a keyboard, as some people with disabilities cannot use a mouse.

This means using HTML tags that accurately describe the content of a website, using meaningful labels for different elements, and providing clear visual cues to show the user where the keyboard focus is, e.g. a zoom effect, a color change, or an outline, among other things.

Team discussing project while looking at code on a computer screen.

4. Captions and Transcripts

Adding captions to videos and transcripts to audio content will make your website accessible to those who are deaf or hard of hearing.

5. Consistent Layout

A clear and consistent layout can make it easier for people with cognitive disabilities to navigate your website.

For instance, you want it to be clear where the main content of a page is and not to clutter it with too many ads or other distracting elements.

6. Color Contrast

Making sure there is sufficient contrast between text and background colors can make it easier for people with low vision to read the content.

Development team having a quick meeting in the office.

7. Descriptive Link Text

Use descriptive link text instead of generic phrases like “click here.” This helps people who use screen readers or have cognitive disabilities to understand where the link will take them.

For instance, here is a link to our introduction to website accessibility for entrepreneurs and small businesses. The user knows exactly what to expect when clicking on the link, even if they cannot physically see it and are having it read out to them by a screen reader.

8. HTML Tags

Proper use of HTML tags can make your website easier to navigate for people with disabilities. For example, using headings to structure your content will make it easier for screen readers to read and understand.

9. Skip Navigation Links

Providing skip navigation links at the top of the page can allow users to skip past repetitive content and access the main content quickly.

When someone is using a keyboard to go through site navigation, they’ll press ‘Tab’ to go move from one menu item to another. If you have five menu items, for instance, they will press ‘Tab’ five times before they get to the main content. 

If you have a link at the top of the page that says something like ‘Skip Navigation’ or Skip to Main Content’ and takes them directly to the part of the page that has your main content, it makes that content more accessible.

Team talk about a project in the office.

10. Audio and Video Controls

Provide controls for audio and video content, such as pause, play, and volume controls. You can also add features to enable users to control the speed of playback. This allows users to control the content and can be helpful for those who have hearing or cognitive disabilities.

11. Form Labels and Error Messages

Ensure that all form fields have labels and that error messages are descriptive and clear. This helps users who may have difficulty understanding or filling out forms. So an error message like ‘Incorrect Input’ is not as helpful as ’Incorrect Input: Make sure you use only alphanumerical characters in your password.’

12. Language Attribute

Specify the language of the content on your website using the “lang” attribute in the HTML. This can help users who rely on screen readers or translation tools to understand your content.

Woman points at code on a computer while team mates look on.

13. Consistent Navigation 

Ensure that your website’s navigation is consistent across all pages. This can help users with cognitive disabilities to navigate your website more easily.

14. Text Size

Allow users to increase or decrease the size of the text on your website. This can be helpful for users with low vision or other visual impairments.

15. Consistent Content Structure

Use consistent content structure and formatting throughout your website. This helps users with cognitive disabilities to understand and navigate your website more easily.

For instance, if you have a sidebar with summaries of the content on a page and a footer with quick-access links, keep those features as consistent as possible across your site.

Woman explains code on a computer while team mates look on.

16. Time Limits

Avoid using time limits on your website, or provide users with the ability to adjust or turn off any time limits. This can be helpful for users with cognitive disabilities or those who need more time to complete tasks.

17. Accessible Documents

If your website provides downloadable documents such as PDFs, ensure that they are accessible by including descriptive alt text, proper heading structure, and other accessibility features. 

For instance, instead of just having a link that says ‘Download,’ have it say, ‘Download the 5 Step Guide to optimizing your website’s accessibility.’

Team brainstorming session.

18. Text-to-Speech Functionality

Include a text-to-speech functionality on your website to help users with visual or reading impairments to access the content. This feature can be especially helpful for long-form content such as articles or blog posts.

19. Consistent Link Styling

Ensure that all links on your website are styled consistently to help users with cognitive disabilities to understand what is clickable.

20. Audio Descriptions

For video content that contains important visual information, provide audio descriptions to help users with visual impairments understand what is happening on the screen.

Work colleagues discussing a project in the office while at a computer.

21. Icons & Labels

Avoid using color alone to convey information on your website, as users with color blindness or other visual impairments may have difficulty understanding it. Instead, use other visual cues such as icons or labels.

Make your site accessible in a few easy steps

As I said above, this is quite a list, and there are other things too, that you can do to help make your site more accessible. 

In order to have accessibility custom-built for your site costs thousands of dollars. We’ve seen businesses pay up to $50,000 for accessibility. However, Artist Dynamix can provide you with accessibility and ADA compliance at a fraction of that cost. Fill out the form below to order your free ADA compliance audit. 

We will run a test on your website, and let you know what the next steps are to make your business accessible online, more inclusive, and to protect yourself from lawsuits. 

Request an accessibility report for your website


    Fungai is a writer, web developer, and creative entrepreneur. He is the founder of Artist Dynamix and is passionate about helping creative entrepreneurs use digital media to realize their full potential.

    0 0 votes
    Article Rating
    1 Comment
    Newest Most Voted
    Inline Feedbacks
    View all comments

    […] websites the way most people can due to physical disabilities or cognitive conditions. When you make your business website more accessible, you enable more people to enjoy your content and buy your […]