Making a website or mobile app accessible means making sure it can be used by as many people as possible.

At least 1 in 5 people in the UK have a long-term illness, impairment or disability. This includes people with:

  • impaired vision
  • motor difficulties
  • cognitive impairments or learning disabilities
  • deafness or impaired hearing

Assistive technologies

Accessibility means making content clear and simple enough for most people to understand it, while presenting it in a way that supports people who need extra help.

For example, someone with impaired vision might use a screen reader (software that lets a user navigate a website and 'reads out' the content), braille display or screen magnifier. Someone with motor difficulties might use a special mouse, speech recognition software or on-screen keyboard emulator.

If content is accessible, software and technology designed to help people read web pages will have no problem following what you have written.

Why making things accessible is important

People need to use our website or documents to find out information or use our services, so it's important they work for everyone.

Accessible websites and documents work better for everyone. They are generally faster, easier to use and appear higher in search rankings.

Accessibility is about making sure web content can be used by as many people as possible. It doesn't just help users with specific needs. Making things accessible benefits our entire audience by helping them read our content quickly and get all the information they need.

Common problems include:

  • Websites that are not easy to use on a mobile or cannot be navigated using a keyboard
  • Inaccessible documents that cannot be read out on screen readers
  • Poor colour contrast that makes text difficult to read - especially for visually impaired people

An example of inaccessible design

Adi Latif of AbilityNet tests five airline apps to book a flight using a screenreader.

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