Practical Approaches For Designing Accessible Websites

Practical Approaches For Designing Accessible Websites

We design with viewports in mind, keep track of loading times, and hunt down even the smallest browser bugs — all to create the best possible user experience. But despite all these efforts to constantly improve our products, there’s still one aspect that, unfortunately, comes up short quite often: accessibility.


With the help of this ebook, you will gain a deeper understanding of common accessibility pitfalls and learn to circumvent them to create a better experience for everyone. As you will see, with accessibility in mind, we can serve many more people than we already do. It’s about time to finally remove the existing barriers and build a more inclusive web — the effort is reasonable, and all our users will benefit from it.


  • Accessibility APIs: A Key To Web Accessibility
    by Léonie Watson and Chaals McCathie Nevile
  • Accessibility Originates With UX: A BBC iPlayer Case Study
    by Henny Swan
  • Mobile And Accessibility: Why You Should Care And What You Can Do About It
    by TJ VanToll
  • Making Modal Windows Better For Everyone
    by Scott O'Hara
  • Notes On Client-Rendered Accessibility
    by Marcy Sutton
  • Design Accessibly, See Differently: Color Contrast Tips And Tools
    by Cathy O'Connor
  • Designing For The Elderly: Ways Older People Use Digital Technology Differently
    by Ollie Campbell

Technical Information

  • Formats: PDF, EPUB, Kindle (DRM-free)
  • Pages: 152
  • Language: English
  • Released: August 2015
  • Publisher: Smashing Magazine GmbH
  • ISBN (PDF): 978-3-945749-24-1
  • ISBN (EPUB): 978-3-945749-22-7
  • ISBN (KINDLE): 978-3-945749-23-4

Excerpt From Chapter 2

Accessibility Originates With UX: A BBC iPlayer Case Study — by Henny Swan

Not long after I started working at the BBC, I fielded a complaint from a screen reader user who was having trouble finding a favorite show via the BBC iPlayer’s home page. The website had recently undergone an independent accessibility audit which indicated that, other than the odd minor issue here and there, it was reasonably accessible.

I called the customer to establish what exactly the problem was, and together we navigated the home page using a screen reader. It was at that point I realized that, while all of the traditional ingredients of an accessible page were in place — headings, WAI ARIA Landmarks, text alternatives and so on — it wasn’t very usable for a screen reader user.

Excerpt From Chapter 3

Mobile And Accessibility: Why You Should Care And What You Can Do About It — by TJ VanToll

[...] many basic best practices for accessibility are forgotten on mobile websites. Developers implement complex solutions such as responsive design and responsive images, yet forget about basic techniques such as image replacement. Therefore, disabled users — who have a difficult enough time on the desktop — are frequently presented with interfaces that are at best frustrating, and at worst, impossible to use.

While accessibility can be a complex topic, following a few best practices goes a long way towards building accessible sites and applications. In this article we’ll discuss a few practical measures that address the most common issues disabled users encounter.

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