How to achieve web accessibility compliance

2024 07 02 · 4 min read

How to achieve web accessibility compliance 

According to the World Health Organization, 16% of the global population has a disability, meaning nearly 1.3 billion people rely on assistive websites and tools. Web accessibility laws ensure these individuals can access online content, making compliance not just a legal necessity but a mark of social responsibility that enhances website quality.  

Statista‘s report shows that 67.1% of people globally use the internet. This only highlights that we need to stay informed about web accessibility standards.  

You are welcome to read this blog post and explore more about achieving compliance and making your website accessible to all. 

Understanding web accessibility  

Let us start by defining web accessibility. It ensures that websites, tools, and technologies are designed to be accessible to everyone, including people with all types of disabilities — hearing, cognitive, neurological, physical, speech, and visual disabilities. Web accessibility is about making sure that people with disabilities can perceive, understand, navigate and interact with the digital environment.  

When asked about web accessibility, our UX Guild Lead Adomas Gudaitis says:  

“Ensuring web accessibility is not just a legal obligation but a crucial step towards creating an inclusive digital environment. Web accessibility demonstrates social responsibility and drives growth by making online content accessible to everyone. This approach meets legal standards and enhances overall usability and engagement, highlighting the importance of inclusivity in digital design.” 

Web accessibility standards 

There are a few key international standards that provide unified guidelines for web accessibility compliance: 

Explore a more in-depth overview of the WCAG, EAA, WAD, and Section 508 standards in the paragraphs below. 

Web Content Accessibility Guidelines  

WCAG is a set of internationally recognised standards developed by the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) to ensure web accessibility. These guidelines provide comprehensive recommendations for making web content more accessible to people with disabilities.  

WCAG is structured around four key principles: Perceivable, Operable, Understandable, and Robust (POUR). Each principle addresses different aspects of web accessibility, ensuring that content is accessible through various means, can be navigated and used effectively, is comprehensible to all users, and is compatible with current and future technologies. Read about the POUR principles in more detail below. 

Key principles of WCAG Guidelines 

  • Perceivable. Information and user interface components must be presented to users in ways they can perceive. This includes providing text alternatives for non-text content, ensuring that content can be presented in different ways (e.g., simpler layout), and making it easier for users to see and hear content; 
  • Operable. User interface components and navigation must be operable. This means ensuring that all functionality is available from a keyboard, providing users enough time to read and use content, and helping users navigate and find content; 
  • Understandable. Information and the operation of the user interface must be understandable. This involves making text readable and understandable, ensuring web pages operate in predictable ways, and helping users avoid and correct mistakes; 
  • Robust. Content must be robust enough to be interpreted reliably by various user agents, including assistive technologies. This includes using standard HTML and web technologies and ensuring compatibility with current and future user tools.  

By following WCAG guidelines, web developers and designers can build inclusive digital experiences that enhance UX and improve the overall UX/UI design quality. Meeting WCAG standards not only promotes accessibility but also leads to better usability and improved search engine rankings.

European Accessibility Act 

The act is a significant legislative framework established by the EU to promote accessibility across member states. Enacted to ensure equal access to goods and services for people with disabilities, the EEA aims to harmonise accessibility requirements across the EU’s internal market. By eliminating barriers and divergent regulations, the EEA seeks to facilitate the availability of accessible products and services, enhancing the daily lives of individuals with disabilities.  

This act covers various sectors, including ICT, logistics and transportation, banking services, and eCommerce platforms. Through the EEA requirements, the EU reinforces its commitment to fostering inclusivity and accessibility, ultimately contributing to a more equitable society for all. 

Web Accessibility Directive 

This directive is a significant piece of legislation enacted by the EU to promote web accessibility across member states. It mandates that public sector bodies ensure their websites and mobile applications are accessible to all users, including those with disabilities. The directive sets out specific requirements based on the WCAG 2.1. 

By implementing the WAD standards, public sector organisations are enhancing accessibility and inclusivity, thereby improving the user experience for all citizens. This directive reflects the EU’s commitment to creating a more accessible digital environment and ensuring equal access to information and services for everyone. 

Section 508  

Section 508 is a part of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 in the United States, which mandates that all electronic and information technology (EIT) developed, procured, maintained, or used by federal agencies be accessible to people with disabilities. This law ensures that individuals with disabilities have equal access to digital information and services, including websites, software, and electronic documents.  

Section 508 aligns with the principles of the WCAG to ensure accessibility and usability. Compliance with Section 508 not only enhances the user experience for people with disabilities but also promotes inclusivity and equal access to government resources and information. 

Adhering to these standards ensures accessibility for all users, creating a more inclusive digital environment where everyone can interact with and benefit from online content and services regardless of their abilities. 

What are the benefits of web accessibility compliance? 

Understanding the benefits of web accessibility compliance is essential for improving user experience and achieving optimal UX/UI design. Have a glance on some of the main benefits: 

  • Enhanced user experience. Web accessibility significantly enhances the overall UX by making content more usable for everyone. Features such as keyboard navigation, text-to-speech, and adaptable content layouts benefit all users, not just those with disabilities; 
  • Ensured legal protection. Adhering to web accessibility standards helps protect your organisation from legal repercussions. With increasing awareness and enforcement of the EAA and other accessibility laws, non-compliance can result in costly lawsuits and settlements; 
  • Improved SEO. Search engines favour websites that follow best practices, including accessibility standards. Accessible websites often rank higher in search results due to better usability, proper use of HTML tags, and more structured content; 
  • Broader audience reach. Making your website accessible opens your content to a wider audience, including millions of people with disabilities. This inclusivity can drive more traffic, increase engagement, and expand your market reach. 

Web accessibility compliance not only improves UX and legal protection but also boosts SEO and broadens audience reach, benefiting both users and your organisation. 

Steps to achieve web accessibility compliance  

Achieving web accessibility compliance is not just about following rules. It is about creating a welcoming user experience for all. Here are the steps on how to make it happen: 

Conduct web credibility audit 

Start by evaluating the current accessibility of your website. This can be done using automated tools like WAVE and Axe, which can identify common accessibility issues. However, manual testing is essential to catch issues that automated tools might miss. Involving users with disabilities in testing can provide valuable insights and uncover real-world usability problems.  

Create a web accessibility statement  

An accessibility statement is a public declaration of your commitment to making your website accessible. It should include your accessibility goals, the standards you adhere to (like WCAG), and contact information for reporting accessibility issues. This transparency builds trust and demonstrates your dedication to inclusivity.  

Implement web accessibility features 

To make your website more accessible, implement the following features:  

  • Add Alt text to images. Provide descriptive text for images to ensure that users with visual impairments can understand the content.  
  • Ensure keyboard navigability. All interactive elements should be accessible via keyboard alone.  
  • Use appropriate colour contrast. Ensure text is readable against background colours, particularly for visually impaired users.  
  • Provide text transcripts for audio and video content. Make multimedia content accessible to users with hearing impairments by providing text alternatives.  
  • Use Accessible Rich Internet Applications (ARIA) landmarks. Implement ARIA roles and properties to enhance navigation for assistive technologies.  

Regular monitoring and maintenance  

Web accessibility is an ongoing process. Conduct periodic accessibility testing to ensure your website complies with evolving standards. Regularly update your content and features to address new accessibility issues that may arise. This proactive approach helps maintain compliance and improves the overall user experience.  

By following these steps, you can create a more accessible website that meets legal standards and provides a better experience for all users. 

Essential Web Accessibility Tools for Smooth User Experience 

Achieving web accessibility compliance and enhancing user experience is made easier with various web accessibility tools designed to identify and address website accessibility issues. These tools are crucial for ensuring that web content is accessible to all users, including those with disabilities. Integrating these tools into your development process can help you create more inclusive and user-friendly websites. 

WAVE (Web Accessibility Evaluation Tool) 

The Web Accessibility Evaluation Tool provides visual feedback on the accessibility of web content by highlighting elements that need improvement. WAVE is beneficial for quickly spotting issues and understanding their context within the page. 


An open-source accessibility testing tool that integrates seamlessly with browsers and development environments. Axe helps developers identify and fix accessibility issues early in the development process, making it easier to maintain compliance. 


A tool from Google that audits web pages for accessibility, performance, SEO, and more. Lighthouse provides a comprehensive overview of areas needing attention, making it an all-in-one solution for improving accessibility and overall site quality. 

Siteimprove Accessibility Checker 

This tool helps identify and correct accessibility issues by offering insights and recommendations. Siteimprove‘s reports are easy to understand, helping teams systematically improve compliance and user experience. 

These tools are invaluable for developers and designers creating accessible, user-friendly websites. By leveraging these resources, you can ensure that your web content meets accessibility standards and provides a better experience for all users. 

To sum it up, we can create a more inclusive online environment by making digital content accessible to all. From a business perspective, website accessibility opens the door to a wider market, resulting in growth. Finally, by designing with accessibility in mind, organisations can provide a more user-friendly experience. 

Want to ensure your website is inclusive and user-friendly? Our expert team can guide you through every step of achieving a convenient user journey. Contact us for a consultation on user experience services. 

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