website development

Inclusive Design: Make Your Digital Experiences Accessible to Everyone

inclusive website design

If you have a brick-and-mortar business, you probably know a thing or two about accessibility.

You have ramps and elevators for wheelchair users. You understand the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) policies on service animals. And you might even offer materials in braille or have someone on your staff who can communicate via sign language.

But when it comes to your website, social media pages, emails and other digital experiences, are you taking the same pains to ensure everyone, regardless of disability, has equal access?

Enter inclusive design.

Inclusive design makes your digital content easier to consume for customers with physical or intellectual disabilities. And it’s not just the right thing to do — in most cases, it’s the law.

What the ADA Says About Web Accessibility

The ADA requires state and local government and any business open to the public to abide by Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG). The guidelines require content to be perceivable, operable, understandable, and robust. (A detailed list of requirements can be found here.)

Fines for non-compliance can be as high as $75,000 for a first-time offense. The ADA certainly isn’t shy about taking businesses to task, either. Past cases include Rite Aid, H&R Block and even Louisiana Tech University.

Tips to Make Your Digital Content More Accessible

Use Alt Text for Images

A picture is only worth a thousand words if your audience can actually see that picture. So you need to use those thousand words (well … some of them, at least) to describe your images to your visually impaired readers.

Be sure to paint as clear a picture as possible. “Man looking at water” is OK. “Man in red shirt and blue jeans standing on the lakeshore looking at sailboat on the water” is better.

Closed Captioning Is Important

If you’re using video as a part of your marketing strategy (which you should absolutely be doing already), closed captioning (CC) is a must.

Some social media sites — specifically, Facebook, YouTube, and LinkedIn — provide options for uploading CC. Others require that you “burn” them onto the video, meaning that they can’t be turned on or off.

Social media sites generally use automatic speech recognition (ASR) to provide CC. Fine in theory, but horrible in execution, particularly if your video contains difficult to pronounce terms, company names, or products.

Keep Text Organized and Easy to Read

Your website’s fonts shouldn’t look like the disclaimers on a prescription-drug commercial. Using large, clear (and preferably sans serif) fonts can help, say, people with declining eyesight from age or even temporary issues such as lost glasses. It even offers benefits for people without disabilities. Easy-to-read fonts make your copy clearer to people using smaller screens (read: phones and even smart watches) or in bright environments where the screen isn’t easily viewable.

It might be tempting to show a little artistic flourish by peppering your site with little blocks of text tucked into big graphics. However, you should keep copy that’s meant to be read in big, organized blocks that are easy to access and easy to scroll through.

Remember: Not Everyone Uses Mice

Many people with motor disabilities only use keyboards — that means no mice and no touchpads. So you’ll want to make sure that everything on your site works for keyboard-only users. You should also ensure that a person using only keyboard commands can navigate the page in a sensible, intuitive way.

Not Everyone Can See Color the Same Way, Either

Roughly 4% of the country is color-blind. That might sound like a small percentage, but it still translates to some 12 million Americans. That’s millions of people who can’t distinguish some colors from one another, and thus they can’t pick up on color cues. adds that “screen readers do not tell the user the color of text on a screen, so a person who is blind would not be able to know that color is meant to convey certain information (for example, using red text alone to show which fields are required on a form).”

Can Everyone Enjoy Your Website?

You want every potential visitor to your website, social media and other online platforms to fully enjoy, appreciate and understand what you have to say. It’s not just good business — it’s the right thing to do.

Do you want to ensure you’re compliant with disability regulations? Do you want to go above and beyond, talk to us! Mischa offers a full suite of website development solutions, whether you need to upgrade from what you have or start from scratch.

Let’s get started! Send us a message today!