Web Accessibility Basics: 12 Accessibility Barriers All Websites Should Adjust For

Web Accessibility Basics: 12 Accessibility Barriers All Websites Should Adjust For

[Note: This content has been updated since it was originally published, May 2022]

What is website accessibility?

Web accessibility, or eAccessibility, is an active effort to ensure that there are no barriers preventing people with physical disabilities, situational disabilities, and socio-economic restrictions on bandwidth and speed from interfacing with or accessing websites.

Many of us take these things for granted because we don’t perceive the same hurdles as some people do when reading and navigating websites, filling out online forms, and differentiating colours in the case of colorblindness.

With so much of our work, social life, and family life happening online, website accessibility is paramount to an excellent user experience.

Here are twelve common accessibility barriers, all of which can be adjusted with simple accessibility software. 

Our tool makes the adjustments necessary to accommodate the individual user. In one action, the site becomes accessible to that user according to one of the twelve most common accessibility barriers listed below.

12 Common Accessibility Barriers

Want to know where to start on your journey toward better web accessibility? We’ve outlined the twelve most common accessibility barriers that we use to measure a site’s fitness during an audit.

Cognitive barriers

A person’s ability to concentrate on complex language due to conditions like dyspraxia, dyslexia, dyscalculia, and dysgraphia could make comprehending legal, academic, and technical materials challenging.

Colour

Someone with colorblindness could find it hard to navigate certain websites and apps due to the colours they use. For example, low colour contrast between text and background makes it harder to differentiate between them.

Insufficient alternative text

Screen readers employ alt text to describe an image to a person with a vision impairment. Including correct and clear alt text makes images more accessible to people with disabilities.

Keyboard accessibility

Keyboard Accessibility. Users who experience mobility impairments or motor disabilities can find it challenging to use a mouse similarly. Keyboard accessibility helps correct this by enabling navigating sites without a mouse.

Motor impairment

Motor impairment affects people with movement disabilities, resulting from either old age or specific conditions. A mobility or dexterity impairment user may have difficulty using a mouse to click on a small checkbox on a web page.

Small text

Text that’s too tiny to read can be a significant obstacle for people with visual impairments. The solution is that they should be able to magnify it easily.

Hearing impairment

A person with a hearing impairment would need alternative text on videos that include information and instructions given orally.

Attitudinal

Attitudinal barriers are behaviours, perceptions, and assumptions that discriminate against persons with disabilities.

Inaccessible documents

Inaccessible documents are a common issue for websites because they prevent equal access to information.

Information or communications

Information or communication barriers occur when sensory disabilities, such as hearing, seeing, or learning disabilities, have not been considered.

Video

It’s wonderful that audio and video bring concepts to life, but they are unavailable to those with hearing or visual impairments when video captions in various languages are missing.

Neurological disorder

Computer monitors emit bright lights, a common trigger for people with migraines. Extensive staring and flickering images cause eyestrain, and bright or flashing lights may trigger a seizure or migraine.

When websites aren’t adjustable to make them more accessible, all the people who experience the barriers mentioned above will have a poorer experience on your site and may not choose to return. They may even select your competition instead. This may have happened already without you knowing.

Why Website Accessibility Matters

Website accessibility is important for inclusivity in work, using government services to obtain a driver’s license or passport, and even going shopping or paying taxes.

Even for those of us who don’t have the type of disability that prevents us from fully experiencing a website, social media program, or app like WhatsApp, we may find that we develop such conditions in the future. 

Someone can also experience temporary disability if they have an eye or ear injury, for instance. Or a person suffering from a migraine that inhibits their comfort in front of a computer screen.

But what if your job requires you to work in front of a computer? If you live with migraine and work on a computer, managing migraine can get tricky.

Conclusion: Better Web Accessibility Is a Moral Imperative

Ensuring web accessibility is not just a compliance issue but a moral imperative. By proactively addressing these 12 common barriers, your website can deliver an inclusive and exceptional user experience to all visitors. 

Remember, accessibility benefits everyone—not just those with permanent disabilities. Temporary impairments, situational challenges, or age-related conditions can affect anyone at any time. 

By making your website accessible, you’re not only improving usability for those with disabilities but also enhancing the overall experience for a broader audience.

With a single tool, you can cater to each user’s unique needs, offering them a seamless and frustration-free browsing experience.

So, don’t wait until accessibility issues become a roadblock for your users. 

Show us that you’re prioritizing inclusivity today by calling us at 647-696-0645 for a free website accessibility audit.

The software we use ensures that your website remains a place where everyone can navigate, learn, and engage with ease. 

Your commitment to accessibility will not only foster goodwill but also set you apart as a leader in user-centric digital experiences.

FAQs

  1. Q: Why care about web accessibility?

A: Web accessibility ensures everyone, including people with disabilities, situational challenges, or socio-economic restrictions can use websites. It’s crucial because it promotes inclusivity and ensures a positive user experience for all without barriers.

  1. Q: How do accessibility barriers affect website visitors?

A: Accessibility barriers can hinder visitors from fully using a website. For instance, colorblind users may struggle with low-contrast text, while people with hearing impairments could miss important information in videos without captions.

  1. Q: What are some common accessibility barriers on websites?

A: The most common accessibility barriers include:

  • Cognitive challenges (e.g., dyslexia, ADHD)
  • Poor color contrast
  • Lack of alternative text for images
  • Non-keyboard-friendly navigation
  • Small, hard-to-read text
  • Missing captions in videos
  1. Q: How do I know if my website is accessible?

A: You can start by using automated accessibility testing tools like WAVE, Axe, or Lighthouse. Additionally, manual testing, screen reader usage, and conducting an accessibility audit can provide valuable insights.

  1. Q: What simple adjustments can I make to improve my website’s accessibility?

A: Some quick and impactful changes include:

  • Adding alt text to images
  • Using sufficient colour contrast
  • Providing keyboard navigation
  • Including captions for videos
  • Making text size adjustable
  • Providing clear and concise content
  1. Q: How does accessibility software work?

A: Accessibility software dynamically adjusts your website based on the user’s needs. For example, it can enable keyboard navigation, increase text size, and apply colour adjustments to improve contrast.

  1. Q: What are the legal implications of not having an accessible website?

A: Many countries have legal standards for web accessibility. The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) in the U.S. and the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG). In Canada, we have the Accessible Canada Act. Non-compliance can lead to lawsuits, fines, and a damaged reputation.

  1. Q: Can making my website accessible improve SEO?

A: Yes, many accessibility best practices, like adding alt text to images and improving site structure, also enhance SEO, leading to better search engine rankings and increased traffic.

  1. Q: How does web accessibility benefit all users, not just those with disabilities?

A: Accessible websites are generally more user-friendly. Features like keyboard navigation, alt text, and high-contrast visuals enhance the browsing experience for everyone, including older adults, mobile users, and people in challenging environments.

  1. Q: How often should I audit my website for accessibility?

A: It’s best to conduct accessibility audits regularly, especially after significant updates or redesigns. Aim for at least once a year or more frequently if possible.

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