The Importance of Accessibility in UX Design

Jun 9, 2023 | UX Design

Accessibility is increasingly coming to the forefront as a central element of user-centred design.

It is no longer enough to simply create a visually stunning website or application. Rather, UX designers must consider the needs of all users, including those with disabilities or limitations.

Hence the goal of UX accessibility is to create a product that is easy to use and navigate for everyone, regardless of their abilities or circumstances.

In today’s article, we’ll explore the importance of accessibility in user experience (UX) design, types of accessibility issues, why UX accessibility is essential, and best practices for UX designers to follow. We shall also examine examples of accessible design in UX to illustrate how this concept can be implemented in real-world scenarios.

What is accessibility in UX?

According to the Oxford Learner’s dictionary, accessibility is essentially how easy something is to reach, enter, use, etc.

In the UX/UI context, accessibility is the measurement of a user’s ability to utilise products/services, and the extent it can ease the process where the user can achieve their objectives.

So, for the most part, accessibility in UX design revolves around designing products that can be used by as many people as possible, regardless of their abilities. This means creating products that are easy to navigate, understand, and interact with, for example, using assistive technologies, like screen readers, Braille displays, or voice recognition software.

By doing so, UX designers can ensure that everyone, regardless of their abilities or circumstances, can use and benefit from their products.

Types of accessibility issues

There are several types of accessibility issues that UX designers need to be aware of, including:

  • Visual impairments: Visually impaired users may have difficulty seeing or distinguishing certain colours, shapes, or patterns, reading small text or focusing on specific page areas.
  • Hearing impairments: People with hearing impaired may have difficulty hearing audio cues or spoken instructions and require captions or transcripts for multimedia content.
  • Motor impairments: Users with gross/fine motor issues may have difficulty using a mouse or keyboard and may require assistive technologies, such as speech recognition software or eye-tracking devices, to navigate a website or application.
  • Cognitive impairments: Users with cognitive impairments might not easily understand multiple instructions, or may face difficulty navigating complex interfaces.

Why is UX accessibility important?

Creating a product that is accessible to all users has numerous benefits not just to the user but to the business as well.

Here are a few reasons why UX accessibility is essential:

  • Enhanced user experience: An accessible product is easy to navigate and understand, making it a more enjoyable experience for all users. By considering the needs of all users, UX designers can create a product that is intuitive, efficient, and user-friendly.
  • It expands the market population: A WHO report showed that 15% of the world’s population will be excluded from a product or service if accessibility design is not taken into consideration.

UX designers can therefore tap into a larger market population by creating an accessible product. This includes users with disabilities or limitations, as well as older users who may have age-related limitations.

  • It is ethical: Creating an accessible product is simply the right thing to do. Everyone deserves equal access to technology, regardless of their abilities or circumstances. And by designing with accessibility in mind, UX designers can ensure that they are not excluding any group of users.
  • It is often required by law: In many countries, including the United States, creating an accessible product is a legal requirement. The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), for example, mandates that all websites and applications must be accessible to people with disabilities.
  • Better SEO rankings: Search engines rate accessible web apps and sites highly. Technologies such as screen readers are easily discovered by SEO and provide an advantage to the website that employs them.
  • Public relations: Designing with accessibility in mind is a great way to enhance a brand’s reputation of inclusivity.

UX accessibility best practices for UX designers

Let’s explore some effective strategies that UX designers can follow to ensure that their products are accessible to all users.

1. Provide text alternatives for non-text content

Ensure that all non-text content, such as images, videos,  audio or text alternatives. For example, insert image alternative text (alt text/image alt tags) or video captions and transcripts to enable users to understand the content without relying on sound.

2. Use descriptive link text

Descriptive link text is important for users with disabilities who use screen readers to navigate the web. This text conveys the purpose of the link, unlike generic text like “click here” or “read more”. An example of descriptive text is “read more about our product features” rather than “click here for more information.”

3. Create clear and consistent navigation

UX designers ought to use clear and concise language for navigation and ensure that it’s consistent throughout the website or application. This is critical as it will make it easier for users with disabilities to navigate the site and find the information they need.

4. Ensure that colour is not the only means of conveying information

Colour blind users may be unable to access information conveyed solely through colour. UX designers should ensure that it isn’t the only means of conveying information by using patterns, textures, or labels to help users with these disabilities access the same information as others.

5. Use a clear and easy-to-read font

UX designers should choose a font that is legible and an appropriate size for users of all ages while also considering the contrast between the font and the background colour. High contrast will make it easier for users with disabilities to read the text.

6. Provide alternatives for multimedia content

Multimedia content such as audio or video can be a barrier for users with auditory impairment and visual impairments. UX designers should ensure that users have alternatives available, such as captions or transcripts, to make the information accessible to all consumers.

7. Make sure the website or application is keyboard-friendly

Some users may not be able to use a mouse or touchscreen. UX designers should ensure that all functionality on the website or application can be accessed using a keyboard, including navigation, forms, and other interactive elements.

8. Allow users to customise the experience

It is vital to provide options to allow users to customise their experiences, such as font size and contrast. This will make it easier for users with disabilities to use the site or application.

9. Test the website or application with assistive technology like AI and VUI

Using assistive technology, such as AI-powered screen readers or voice recognition software, is a great way to test the website or application and ensure it’s accessible to all users. These will enable people with auditory impairments and the visually impaired to access information with the same level of accuracy as other normal users.

10. Use consistent components

Using consistent components throughout the website or application makes it easier for users with disabilities to navigate and use the site. These can include consistent colours, font styles, and navigation elements.

11. Device-independent design

Employing device-independent design allows users to operate the functionality through various inputs as their abilities permit. Enabling users to interact with the product with various device. For example, mouse, keyboard, voice user interface and others.

Examples of accessible design in UX

To better understand the importance of accessible UX design, let’s look at some examples of accessible design in UX.

Captioning and transcripts for videos: Adding captions and transcripts to videos makes them accessible to users who are deaf or hard of hearing, allowing them to understand the content without relying on audio.


Image Credit:

Alt text for images: Adding alt text to images helps users who are blind or have low vision understand the content of the image. Screen readers can read the alt text aloud, giving users a better understanding of what’s being shown.

alt text

Image Credit:

Consistent and clear navigation: Providing consistent and clear navigation throughout a website or app helps all users. However, it is especially helpful for users who use screen readers or other assistive technologies to navigate. It is also helpful for users with cognitive disabilities.

Colour contrast: Ensuring that there is sufficient contrast between text and background can make it easier for users with low vision or colour-blindness to read the content.

Bad colour contrast vs good colour contrast

Bad colour contrast vs good colour contrast

Keyboard accessibility: Ensuring that all the functionality of the app or website can be accessed via a keyboard is important for users who are unable to use a mouse or other pointing device.


Accessible design is an essential aspect of user experience that prioritises inclusion and usability for all individuals, regardless of their abilities or disabilities.

By following the aforementioned practices and incorporating features like colour contrast, clear language and assistive technologies, UX designers can create products and services that are more accessible and user-friendly.

As illustrated by the examples discussed in this article, accessible design not only benefits individuals with disabilities but also improves the overall user experience. And this can ultimately lead to greater success and satisfaction for businesses and organisations.

With technology continuing to evolve, UX designers need to constantly prioritise accessibility and innovate ways that promote inclusivity and equal access for all users.

Reach out to us at Netizen Experience for accessible UX designs for your next project!

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