Website Accessibility Basics

Achieving website accessibility can sometimes feel like you are trying to hit a moving target. New guidelines are consistently being established and there is no single industry standard for measuring accessibility. In addition, unless you are a federal agency or someone who receives federal funding, it is up to you to define your accessibility benchmarks.

Web accessibility standards


Visitors must be able to perceive, or understand and be aware of, the content and information that’s presented on your website. Keep in mind that perceive doesn’t necessarily mean see with one’s eyes users who are blind or have low vision often use screen reader software, which converts printed text into synthesized speech or characters.


Operable websites can be used without disrupting the user in any way. All visitors can utilize every part of the site’s functionality, from navigating a page, to selecting a link from a menu, to playing and pausing video and audio.


All content on your website including your written and graphic design content should be easily understood by visitors. Not only is jumbled, verbose language difficult for your typical visitor to interpret it also limits access to those with cognitive difficulties and impairments, as well as people who do not speak your site’s predominant language.


The content on your site should be easily interpreted and consumable by all visitors, including those who use assistive technology like screen readers. This principle boils down to writing your HTML in such a way that assistive technologies can parse your code without a visual reference.

How to make your website accessible

  • After reviewing the principles above, you might have realized that your website doesn’t quite meet these standards.
  • Perhaps you ran your site through an accessibility testing tool and didn’t come out with the best score.
  • Either way, the WCAG provides several specific guidelines for each of the four principles above that you can implement immediately.
  • This will create a memorable and positive UX as well as help you boost customer loyalty.


By ensuring your site is accessible, you’re simply doing the right thing for the people who matter most to your business, your visitors and customers.