What exactly is Web Accessibility?

Web Accessibility means making websites and other digital platforms user-friendly for everyone, including people with special access needs.

This includes people with sight, hearing and physical disabilities as well as cognitive impairments such as autism, ADHD, dyspraxia, dyslexia and the colour blind, to name just a few. It also affects people with temporary or situational access difficulties such as a broken arm and a noisy or light-sensitive environment.

To be ‘accessible’, digital platforms must be designed and developed so that ALL users can perceive and understand the information provided and navigate and interact with the functionalities of the site easily.

Why should you be very bothered about Web Accessibility?

If you had a shop, would you put obstacles in the way of customers coming through your door or set them some riddles to solve before you let them in?

☝️ In the UK, 70% of websites are doing exactly that! They are not user-friendly and particularly not for people with special access needs and situational limitations.

☝️ 20% of the UK population are registered as disabled – so businesses with ‘unfriendly’ websites are ignoring at least one in five of their potential customers. And this estimate doesn’t include the dyslexic, colour-blind, elderly or others with impairments or limitations not classed as disabilities!

☝️ This ignorance has cost UK businesses £17.1bn in lost revenue in 2019 alone as frustrated site visitors clicked away from their website and a potential sale. 70% of these click-aways will never return. (source: The Click Away Pound Report 2019)

☝️ The “Purple Pound”, the spending power of disabled people and their families, is worth £249bn to the UK economy on an annual basis. Businesses don’t even consider tapping into this market and they are not aware it exists or haven’t even considered that their customers could be found there (source: BBC Report 2017).

☝️☝️☝️ This is why you should be very bothered about having a website that is designed and developed anticipating your customers’ access needs so that everybody can enter your “shop” freely!

Examples of Special Access Needs

  • Dyslexic, autistic or other people with cognitive conditions cannot access digital platforms adequately if these have serif fonts (“fancy” fonts) or lengthy paragraphs not broken up into small chunks or bullet points. This prevents them from processing and understanding the information on a site.


  • If a platform is not compatible with assistive technology used by blind or physically impaired people, then it cannot be accessed by such users. Screen readers, for example, scan and read out the logical flow of the text content and descriptions of the images on a website to help sight-impaired people with navigating through a site. If the alternative text for images (alt-text), text description for videos, a logical header structure (H1, H2, H3, etc.) and the appropriate code labels are missing, the device cannot read the site content adequately.


  • People who lack motor skills or have a physical disability, preventing them from using a mouse or trackpad, cannot access a site if it has not been developed to be used through the keyboard. Such users should be able to use the tab and other keys to navigate the site and see at all times where they are with clear focus on links and content.


  • The colour-blind and people with low vision cannot see text that has a low contrast to the background. The contrast ratio on a site must have a prescribed ratio allowing users to access its information.


  • Deaf people are often forgotten when telephone numbers are the only contact option. Or, if you offer videos or video chat options without captions.


  • People without disabilities but with temporary or situational limitations benefit from web accessibility too. If you cannot use a track pad or mouse because you have broken your arm, you need to be able to navigate the web with a keyboard. People in noisy offices or on quiet trains who haven’t got headphones need captions to be able to view videos. In extreme light conditions such as sunshine outside, people require a good colour contrast to see what is on a website when viewing it on a mobile phone.

These are just a few examples of special access needs. Makes sense, doesn’t it?

Five Tips to check if your website has basic accessibility features


# 1      Alternative Text (Alt-Text) for Images

Including an alternative text option, ‘Alt Text’, for images is essential to make your website accessible to the assistive technology used by blind and sight-impaired site visitors.

Here’s one easy way to check if your site images have Alt Text:

Move your cursor over the image you want to check. Right-click the image and select “inspect” or “inspect element” from the menu that appears.

You should now see some HTML code lines. Look out for “alt=.” If you can see a text description of the image, then it has alt text. If not, add the alt text in your site’s media folder. If you don’t know how to do this, contact your web developer for guidance.


# 2      Keyboard Navigation

Keyboard Navigation is vital for users that are blind and use a Braille keyboard or users with motor control or other physical limitations who cannot use a mouse or trackpad. Users with low vision often also prefer to use the keyboard to get around a site.

Here’s an easy way to check if your site can be navigated via the keyboard:

Click the ‘Tab’ key on your keyboard. You should move forward within the site with each click. Can you see at all times exactly where you are on the site, i.e. is there a focus on any text, image or links? Can you navigate and interact with all controls, links and menus in a logical order?

If so, your site has keyboard accessibility.

If not, then your site must be fixed by a web developer to make it keyboard accessible.

# 3      Contact Form

Contact form related accessibility problems are the most common issues on a website.

You can test your contact form for the main issues by checking this:

Are your contact form labels clear enough? E.g. are you asking for “Your full name” instead of “Name” etc.? This is important for all people but particularly for those with cognitive issues such as autism. Ambiguity in any context can be frustrating and cause site visitors to click away rather than send the contact message, which could lead to a sale.

Can you see where you are on the contact form whilst you are using it?

Is the cursor moving into the field when you click on the text next to an input field?

Do you get a message after sending the form, and is it easy to spot and understand? It’s important to see whether a click action has had the desired effect.

Are any input errors or omissions highlighted and are you getting an explanation about what the problem is if the form isn’t sending? It is frustrating to any user if they don’t know why the form can’t be submitted.

If you can do all the above, your contact form is accessible. If there are problems, you should ask your web developer to fix them urgently. You could be losing sales otherwise!


# 4      Colour Contrasts

Is your website’s colour contrast good enough for customers with low vision, colour blindness, dyslexia or light sensitivity and other cognitive or sight limitations?

To get a free colour contrast analysis of your website, check out this tool https://color.a11y.com/Contrast/. The result will give you a clear overview of the colours used on your website and whether their contrast ratios are compliant with the web content accessibility guidelines (WCAG).

If the results are negative, ask your web developer for help.


# 5      Mobile Friendliness

Mobile responsiveness is important for all site visitors. If you cannot view the website information on a smartphone, tablet or other devices with a small screen, then your site is not user-friendly and therefore not accessible.

The easiest way to check if your site is mobile-friendly is to use Google’s free tool: https://search.google.com/test/mobile-friendly.

The result will also tell you what the issues are if your website is not mobile friendly. You can then ask your web developer to fix these issues.


There is a lot more to web accessibility than the above five basic checks. However, these tips should give you a good first understanding of what is involved in making your website accessible to all your potential customers.

Want to know more about website accessibility?

Watch the interview with Caren Launus-Gamble about the importance of web accessibility for UK businesses here

Caren and Callum Gamble are the award-winning mother-and-son team at neurodiverse web agency and consultancy KreativeInc Agency Ltd. Having started their business following a bad experience with an employer who wouldn’t support Callum’s autism, they are web accessibility specialists. Passionate about their mission of making the UK digitally inclusive by 2025, they design, develop and audit accessible websites and train other web agencies and inhouse digital departments to do the same.

If you have an accountant, they should be your first stop for business advice. If you don’t have an accountant or they can’t help, BuBul has a wide range of experts available. For more advice, connect our experts* Caren on LinkedIn here or Callum on LinkedIn here.

*We’ve picked experts we know and trust who are good at what they do. All of them will give you at least an extra 30 minutes free advice if you contact them and would then charge their normal prices. They don’t pay to be on BuBul and don’t give us any money from anything they earn as an expert.