20 November 2023
4 mins

Accessibility on the web

Luke Chapman
Luke Chapman
Technology Director

Websites are such an integral part of our lives – from education to entertainment, shopping to everyday communication. We often take it for granted how easily we can jump on a website and get what we need and move on with the rest of our day.

But that’s not the same experience for everybody.

There are those that frankly cannot interact on the web without immense friction, and we’re all at fault.

Take a look at this scene from the latest season of Sex Education, which expertly conveys the sentiment:

“I wish people understood, that our problems often come from barriers in society, not from our disabilities”

Sadly, accessibility is often an afterthought, and the web is no exception.

So why isn’t the web very accessible? Assistive technology exists, like screen readers and refreshable braille displays, so why is there friction still? Ultimately, it comes down to a few things:

  • A lack of awareness – designers and developers are not sufficiently educated about accessibility and lack the knowledge to properly build an accessible website.
  • Perceived cost and effort – many businesses perceive accessibility endeavours to be too costly and too time consuming.
  • Complexity of web content – dealing with interactive and multiple media elements can be challenging when accounting for accessibility.

To overcome these barriers, we first of all need to acknowledge that we all have a part to play – from web designers through to business owners. Secondly, some misconceptions need to be addressed:

  • Only a small group of people are affected – this simply isn’t true, over 4 million Australians live with disability (18% of the population)
  • Accessibility is too costly and too time consuming to address – whilst some aspects of accessibility require additional resources, most implementations are straightforward.
  • Accessible sites are ugly – when taking a considered and thoughtful approach to accessibility in design, it’s possible to create beautiful looking accessible websites.

At Windsorborn we build a lot of websites, so we’ve taken it upon ourselves to do the work and get educated. Here are a few invaluable resources we have discovered along the way:

The A11Y Project
A fantastic community-driven project with an abundance of resources.

THE guidelines/standards to follow when building accessible and inclusive websites.

13 Letters
A great podcast from the crew behind Be My Eyes that covers a broad range of accessibility topics, not just for the web.

Ready to make your site accessible?
Get in touch
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