10+ Tips on Website Accessibility for Web Developers

Profile picture of Arjan Schouten, author of the blog post.
Author Arjan Schouten

Last updated:

Are you a web developer striving to make your websites accessible to everyone? Accessibility is crucial to ensure that all users, including those with disabilities, can access and interact with your content. But where to start?

1.Use correct HTML tags

Assistive technologies such as screen readers use HTML tags to interpret and convey information to users with disabilities.

By using the most specific HTML tags and attributes to structure your content, you can provide a clear and meaningful structure to your website. This makes it easier for assistive technologies to navigate and interpret the content.

For example, using the <nav> tag for navigation menus, the <h1> tag for page titles, and the <img> tag with appropriate alt text for images can greatly enhance the accessibility of your website.

Examples of assistive technologies are screen readers, voice recognition and selection switches which are an alternative to mouse, keyboards and touch screens.

To ensure that forms are accessible, it's important to use the appropriate HTML tags for each form element. For example, use the <select> element for selections and the input element with the type="radio" attribute for radio buttons. Make sure to provide clear and concise labels for each form element. This will help users understand what information is being requested.

Always use the most specific HTML tag!

2. Provide alternative text for media

How do people with visual impairments understand the content and context of images or videos? How can a person who is deaf or hard of hearing comprehend the audio in a video?

Providing alternative text (alt text) for media such as video, audio and images is a critical step in making your website accessible to everyone.

The Alt text is a description of the image that conveys its content and purpose to the user. It should be:

  • concise,
  • accurate,
  • and provide meaningful information.

3. Ensure that all form elements are labeled

The label next to a form field provides information about the expected value for that field, allowing users to understand what information should be entered.

Screen readers should be able to determine which label describes the form element.

It is important to use the for attribute to connect the label to the corresponding form element, and to ensure that the label accurately describes the purpose or function of the form element.

<label for="email">Email:</label>
<input type="email" id="email" name="email">

4.Don't rely on color only

For people with vision deficiencies it is essential to not rely solely on color to convey information.

Instead, provide additional cues such as text or icons to ensure all users can understand the content.

As an example why you must not rely on color only, the status of invoices for May and June are shown. The first example uses only color as an status indicator for the invoice. The image contains the perceived version of this status indicator. The second version of the invoice status uses icons and text as an indicator of the invoice status.
An example to highlight the importance of not relying on color only in design.

5.Provide sufficient contrast

Sufficient contrast between text and background is essential for readability and accessibility that benefits everyone.

It ensures that people with visual impairments, such as color blindness, can perceive the content properly. In general, the text should have a high contrast ratio with the background to make it stand out clearly.

Using sufficient contrast in design is crucial and benefits everyone.

Example of a button with text disclaimer text below the button. The text below the button is grey and has a black background which shows what effect a low contrast ratio has.
Example where insufficient contrast is used in the design

6. Use ARIA roles and attributes

ARIA (Accessible Rich Internet Applications) roles and attributes can help to make web content more accessible to people with disabilities by providing information to assistive technologies like screen readers.

ARIA attributes can be used to add extra meaning to HTML elements and give context to assistive technologies about the purpose of those elements. Using ARIA roles and attributes correctly can improve the user experience for people with disabilities, making it easier for them to navigate and interact with web content.

7. Test for accessibility using automated testing tools

Testing your website for accessibility is a crucial step in ensuring that it can be used by everyone. There are various automated and manual testing tools available that can help you identify accessibility issues on your website.

These tools can check for issues such as missing alt text, improper use of HTML tags, insufficient contrast, and more.

How Accessible is your website?

Test now how accessible your website is for free

Not every accessibility issue can be automatically detected as a human interpretation and evaluation is needed, for instance, for alternative text for media.

It's important to also perform manual testing to catch issues that require evaluation by a human.

8.Keyboard accessibility

It is important to keep in mind that many people with disabilities rely on assistive technology to navigate the web, including keyboard-only navigation.

Therefore, it is important to provide keyboard accessibility for all interactive elements to ensure that they can be accessed and used by everyone. Additionally, keyboard accessibility is not only beneficial for people with disabilities but also for users without disabilities who may prefer using a keyboard for navigation.

Use the tabindex attribute to control the order in which users can navigate through interactive elements using the keyboard. Be careful with tabindex to avoid creating confusing or illogical tab order, which can be frustrating for users and negatively impact their experience on your website.

9. Test your website on different screen sizes and devices

Users use Phones, Tablets, Laptops and Desktops to navigate the web.

It's important to test your website on different screen sizes and devices to ensure that it is accessible and usable for all users.

Make sure that the website is responsive and adapts to different screen sizes.

Use an accessibility checker that tests on multiple screen sizes to make sure everyone, regardless of device can use your website.

Is your website Accessible to everyone?

Test now how accessible your website is for free

10. Accessibility as a Continuous Effort

Accessibility should not be a one-time effort. As new content is added and updates are made to a website, it is crucial to assure this content is accessible for everyone.

This requires staying up-to-date with the latest accessibility guidelines and standards and incorporating them into your development process.

To make sure you stay compliant it is important to use an accessibility monitor that automatically checks your website. Besides that, it is a good practice to plan recurring manual accessibility audits.

Share this article

Was this article helpful?
Thanks for your feedback!

We are sorry to hear that you are not satisfied with the content on this page.

Checkout the ExcellentWebCheck services

ExcellentWebCheck's goal is to improve the online user experience. The tools of ExcellentWebCheck help to detect and improve usability problems on your website.