Introduction to Website Accessibility

There is a lot of in-depth information available about how to make websites and digital content accessible. This resource discusses 8 recommendations which serve as a great start!

  • Subject(s):

    Strategic Planning, Website Accessibility

  • Resource Type(s):

    Foundations and Rationale, Standards and Best Practices

  • Audience:


Suggested Prerequisite

Before you read this, you might want to read:

Website Accessibility

Ensuring that your website is accessible is a great way to guarantee that all your online visitors feel welcomed and respected. As a bonus, an accessible website often ranks higher in SEO because the structure is easier for search engines to crawl.

Just as there is with ebooks, there are lots of ways to enhance the accessibility of a website – we’ll review a few here!

All of these recommendations are born from the gold standard for web accessibility – the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines, or WCAG. These guidelines explain in detail how to improve the accessibility of web content for people with disabilities. You can learn more about WCAG in the Links to More Information section below, but here is the briefest overview to get you started: 

WCAG 2.0 and WCAG 2.1 are technical standards. They have guidelines that are organized under 4 principles: In order to be accessible, web content needs to be: Perceivable, Operable, Understandable, and Robust. And, for each guideline in WCAG, there are three levels of meeting it – A, AA, and AAA. The World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) is the creator of WCAG, and they have made many documents detailing how to meet each guideline. We recommend digging in when you get a chance! But, until then, the 8 recommendations listed above are a great place to start.

Next Steps


Website Accessibility Standards

Web Accessibility Standards, Requirements, & Legislation (including WCAG)

The standards for web accessibility are complex, it’s true. This resource discusses the rules in Canada, and breaks down exactly what is needed to meet the all-important Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG). Even when simplified,…

Subject(s): Website Accessibility
Resource Type(s): Standards and Best Practices

Best Practices for Review of Website Accessibility

Reviewing Website Accessibility

This resource gives a brief overview of the existing options for reviewing the accessibility of a website, including using checklists, running automated checking tools, and hiring people to audit a site.

Subject(s): Website Accessibility
Resource Type(s): Standards and Best Practices

Making More Accessible Social Media

Introduction to Accessible Social Media Content

Ebooks are not the only digital content that benefit from accessibility! All digital content, from webpages to Facebook posts, can be inclusive and accessible. This resource provides general recommendations which apply to most of the most…

Subject(s): Digital Marketing
Resource Type(s): Checklist, Foundations and Rationale

Adding Alt-text to Images on Social Media

A Guide to Adding Image Descriptions to Your Social Media Posts

Most of the popular social media platforms allow users to add alt-text to their images. This resource provides step-by-step instructions for Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn.

Subject(s): Digital Marketing, Image Descriptions
Resource Type(s): Standards and Best Practices, Step-by-Step

External Links to More Information

Web Content Accessibility Guidelines

The Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) from the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) are a set of guidelines designed to make web content accessible to people with disabilities. They are organized under four principles: perceivable, operable, understandable, and robust. There are three conformance levels: A, AA, and AAA. AA is recommended. The guidelines cover the content itself, such as text and images, and also the markup used to structure it.

WCAG 2.1 At a Glance

This “At a Glance” page provides a paraphrased summary of Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.1. It is non-technical, highly human-readable, and a great place to start learning about the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines.

WAVE Web Accessibility Evaluation Tool

An accessibility checking tool that checks for possible accessibility issues on a web page. Issues that are automatically found are indicated, and it also provides information to help with manual checking. It is a great place to start testing a website, but does require some technical knowledge of WCAG.

5 Website Accessibility Checkers You Need Today

This blog post recommends five automated tools that can be used to check web accessibility. It mentions that manual testing is also needed in addition to automated checks. Tools discussed are WAVE: Website Accessibility Evaluation tool, SortSite, aXe: the Accessibility Engine, Pa11y, and Tota11y.

Accessible Information and Communication: A Guide for Small Business

This guide gives details on what small businesses can do to make their materials and environment accessible. It is written for Ontario but much of the information will be generally applicable. It covers accessibility requirements, providing information in accessible formats, communicating with disabled people in person which includes both interactions and ways to provide accessible information, and providing accessible emergency information to people with disabilities. An extensive list of resources is included.

Wednesday Wisdom: Event Planning Accessibility Guidelines

This page gives information on making events accessible. Some items include having a clear method for guests to indicate accommodation needs before an event, considering accessibility in emergency planning, and having an accessible website. Accommodations are given that can help people with different types of disabilities: mobility challenges; those who are deaf and hard of hearing; and blind and low vision.