Why Accessibility is important for your Website or Digital Product Why Accessibility is important for your Website or Digital Product

Why Accessibility is important for your Website or Digital Product

  • date-ic 21 Dec 2016
  • time-ic 4 minutes read

Wondering why accessibility is important for a website or digital product? Wanting to understand the important of accessible websites? Read on!
Have you ever imagined trying to make a purchase on your desktop computer or phone, whilst also being partially blind? As a user experience designer, it’s important to walk in a handicapped user’s shoes to determine where your digital product has accessibility problems. If you don’t, you’re not only shutting out potential revenue, but you’re losing the opportunity to make your product more inclusive of a diverse audience. In an age where web accessibility and the importance of accessible website design is so imperative, it’s crucial you live up to the expectations of your consumers.

Common disabilities, and how they relate to digital products and the web

About 15% of the world’s population has a disability, according to the World Health Organisation.

Disabilities can range in complexity and have many levels of severity. Some handicaps are mild, while others are debilitating and change a person’s life drastically. Users could have:

  1. Visual impairments such as blindness or colour-blindness,
  2. Hearing troubles or complete deafness,
  3. Mobility or motor skill impairments,
  4. Learning disabilities such as dyslexia.

Additionally, seniors aged 65 or older also might need special accommodations to view screens, according to the Nielsen Norman Group (NNG).  Seniors say that websites are much harder to use, and they are twice as likely to give up on a task compared to younger users, according to NNG.


Sadly, most seniors blame themselves when they can’t use a website. But who they should really be blaming are the designers who made the site in the first place, as they have not fulfilled the website accessibility standards which are expected by consumers!

elderly couple

Common web accessibility pitfalls

Companies make many common mistakes that can limit their digital products’ accessibility. Here are some common acessibility issues and scenarios that would crop up on a website that is not accessible enough to its audience:

  1. A colour blind user not being able to distinguish the text on a button from the button’s background colour.
  2. A user with dyslexia who cannot properly read large blocks of text, and thus takes twice as long to read and complete a task.
  3. A senior citizen who has trouble remembering a task on a certain website, and so has to write the steps down in order to complete that task again.
  4. Someone with a motor disability such as cerebral palsy, who cannot use a mouse properly or finds common keyboard shortcuts to be too long to memorise and execute.

Some estimates even put disabled populations at up to 20%, so it’s easy to see why accessibility is so important for digital products. If a significant population of potential users are having trouble using your site or product, that’s lost revenue and more frustrated users who won’t come back to your product- so whilst there are no accessibility requirements for your website by law, it is crucial you ensure your website can easily be used by all.

How to improve your website or digital product’s accessibility

Luckily there are many steps that designers and developers can take to make sure their products are accessible. Here are some web accessibility tips:

  1. Visual Accessibility: colour blind users might need additional cues in the form of icons in order to see error states or notice that something is wrong, especially if they are filling out forms. Tooltips, thick borders, bold text, underlines, and italics are some ways that don’t rely on colour.
  2. Color Contrast is important: Color blind users also might have trouble with text and colours that are not contrasting enough.
  3. Can you use a keyboard to navigate your website? You can make changes t0 your front-end code to ensure that users can tab between pages and options using their keyboards rather than a mouse. Having simple and familiar keyboard shortcuts instead of long ones also is a big plus for accessibility.
  4. Forms are a big deal: Many modern designs for web forms don’t have enough labels or visual cues to guide some users to enter the right information in the right place. Use some of Jesse Hauser’s tips on forms to ensure that anyone can fill them out correctly.

W3C’s accessibility standards, which are accepted worldwide, are also a great place to start.


You can also recruit user testing subjects who have disabilities so you can see how they respond to and interact with your product. Recruiting some handicapped users for your user testing sessions will probably give you the best understanding of what this subset of users is going through, and will uncover issues that you probably had never seen before.

These test subjects can also inform user personas that are inclusive so that you can make case studies and user stories early on in the design process.

TestMate can help make your product more accessible

Too often, the world does not accommodate people with disabilities. Make your product stand out amongst the rest by being inclusive of people with handicaps by using TestMate. TestMate is an online service that can help you recruit diverse groups of users for testing your product.

Poor user experience is a common problem among digital products, and TestMate’s services can help you differentiate your offering in the market, increase conversion rates, and ensure customer engagement. Get in touch so we can help identify your needs and find the right usability testing solutions.


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