Digital accessibility is the practice of making digital content and applications accessible to all users, including those with disabilities. This means ensuring that websites, mobile applications, and digital platforms are designed and developed in such a way that people with various types of impairments—visual, auditory, physical, speech, cognitive, or neurological—can use them without hindrance. It's about removing barriers in the digital world, enabling equal access and opportunity to everyone, similar to how physical accessibility considerations in building design ensure everyone can navigate through them. Digital accessibility is not just a legal necessity but also a socially responsible practice, ensuring inclusivity in the increasingly digital landscape of our society. 

Basic checks of accessibility  

How can you check the accessibility of digital documents and screen layouts? First, ensure that your documents have proper headings, descriptive alt text for images, and meaningful link texts. Next, use appropriate color contrast and font sizes to enhance readability. Don't forget to check the keyboard accessibility and ensure that interactive elements are easily navigable. Lastly, test your documents and screen layouts with assistive technologies to ensure a smooth user experience. By following these steps, you can make your content more inclusive and user-friendly for everyone. 

Accessibility audits 

An accessibility audit is a comprehensive review of an organization’s digital content and applications to assess how accessible they are for people with disabilities. Through this process, organizations can identify any potential barriers that could prevent people with disabilities from viewing their digital content. An accessibility audit provides insights into what areas of a digital product (web page, editorial copy, etc.) need improvement to make the digital experience more inclusive. Additionally, the audit can provide recommendations on how to make specific changes and improvements that address any accessibility barriers. By conducting an accessibility audit, organizations can ensure their digital products are available to everyone. This will not only improve user experience but also help organizations meet legal requirements related to accessibility.  

Accessibility guidelines 

Accessibility guidelines can be found in various sources, including national and international organizations. The World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) publishes the internationally-recognized Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG). These guidelines provide an actionable framework for making web content more accessible and user-friendly. Additionally, many countries have accessibility regulations that should be taken into consideration when creating accessible digital services. Organizations should consult local and international sources to ensure that their content is compliant with accessibility standards.  

Digital accessibility best practices 

In order to make its content more accessible, an organization needs to first understand the requirements for digital accessibility. This includes understanding any applicable laws or regulations as well.  

For example, WCAG (Web Content Accessibility Guidelines). Does WCAG set legal requirements for accessibility? Where does WCAG get its authority? 


WCAG is a set of guidelines and standards developed by the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) to help organizations create digital content that is accessible to everyone. These guidelines and standards are not legally binding. However, they can be used as a reference when addressing legal requirements related to accessibility. The WCAG standard has been adopted by many countries around the world, including the United States, and is widely used as a benchmark for measuring accessibility compliance. It provides detailed recommendations on how to make digital content accessible, such as providing alternative text for images and ensuring that websites are navigable by keyboard. By following these guidelines, organizations can help ensure their digital services meet legal requirements related to accessibility.  

Organizations should also consider conducting user research and usability testing with people of different abilities. This can help organizations identify any potential issues or barriers in their digital content that may not be captured by an accessibility audit. In addition, organizations should provide resources such as training materials on accessibility best practices and guidelines on how to create (and read ) accessible content using 24-hour time notation.  

Accessibility audits

During an accessibility audit, an organization can expect a comprehensive evaluation of its digital content, interfaces, and functionalities in line with the WCAG standards. The audit may identify potential barriers that could prevent people with disabilities from fully engaging with the digital service. Moreover, the evaluation process might include automated and manual testing, as well as user testing with people of different abilities, providing a holistic understanding of the current accessibility status. The audit report would typically outline the identified issues, their severity, and recommendations for remediation. This can act as a guide for organizations to make iterative improvements for enhancing accessibility. 

Accessibility audits should become part of an ongoing process to ensure that digital services are usable by everyone regardless of their physical abilities. This can be achieved through regular reviews and updates at set intervals to identify any issues. 

Remember, the type of audit an organization requires depends largely on its industry, size, and specific circumstances. There are good reasons to comply with the guidelines and rules besides compliance and legal risk. Failure to address accessibility leaves an organization exposed to accessibility complaints and lawsuits. At the same time, having an inclusive website can also increase your market share. 

Planned accessibility

Involving everyone among the key players as part of digital accessibility planning and regular accessibility audits also offers a multitude of business benefits. These benefits open up new market segments by making digital services accessible to people with disabilities, a group that is often overlooked. This inclusivity boosts the potential user base and can lead to increased customer loyalty and positive brand reputation. In turn, this can drive revenue growth and provide a competitive edge in the marketplace. 

Unexpected benefits of digital accessibility

Implementing digital accessibility can remarkably enhance SEO (search engine optimization) efforts. Search engines favor websites that are accessible and well-structured, leading to improved search rankings. Furthermore, regular accessibility audits ensure adherence to legal standards, thereby reducing the risk of costly litigation associated with non-compliance. In essence, digital accessibility and accessibility audits not only foster ethical business practices but also contribute to the bottom line. 

A broader view

While this article deals mainly with a relatively small set of accessibility issues and solutions, full coverage of all this information needs a lot of space, even in digital form. Here is a view that may be helpful for more people (hopefully more up-to-date).

An Introduction to Accessibility -

This is a basic text, dealing with WCAG 2.0, WCAG 3, and WCAG 3 (expected release in 2023). Explains what is in WCAG2 and who it is for (web developers). This a technical standard, not an introduction to the topic of accessibility.

An FAQ on much of this information (and much more) is available online at WCAG 2 FAQ | Web Accessibility Initiative (WAI) | W3C