Web Accessibility


The Issue

In the 21st century increasingly we all communicate across the Internet. Whether to learn, to consume, to play or just to interact, the internet and websites are a crucial medium for us all. But for some users with a disability the very medium is rendered unusable as a result of poor design not only by individuals, but sometimes because the platform upon which the website is constructed does not allow the designer to support people with a disability.

There are many organisations and individuals seeking to support users to access the web both through Assistive Technology and through the education and training of designers and engineers.

Access to the internet is a very real issue for us all. The moral and social case is clear in designing for an inclusive society. But equally the business case is strong. There are 9.8 million disabled people on the UK alone offering a huge market for business as well as being voters and members of communities. website accessibility is an issue that touches us all.

Web accessibility through the eyes of a screenreader

The importance of HTML headings for accessibility

Contrast website overlay tool helps dyslexic users

Screen magnification for accessibility for visually impaired users

Accessible website navigation using a speech enabled links list

Implementing the requirements for Level 'A' WAI compliance for websites

(move the page up or down by using the scroll bar, or just place the arrow over the page,
hold the left click button and drag the page up and down)


LowBrowse - Internet browsing for the visually impaired.

LowBrowseTM, an add-on to Mozilla's Firefox browser, enables people with moderate or severe low vision to view web pages as the original web author intended, as well as read the text on those pages in a format that is tailored to their own visual needs. Some of the features of this new extension include:
  • a reading frame at the top of the browser in which users can customize font, text size, color contrast and letter spacing while preserving the original site layout below
  • image enlargement
  • speech capability

More about LowBrowse . . .

LowBrowse Introduction

More browsing on LowBrowse

eSSENTIAL Accessibility

The provider of a software-based service that makes online environments fully accessible to individuals with physical disabilities.

The software includes many assistive technology features which gives users with physical limitations the tools they require to access a website.

eSSENTIAL website (and free download)
screenshot of essential website
Fully compatible with external tracking devices like Quick Glance, SmartNav, Tracker One, Head Master, joysticks or switches and already includes built-in tools like:

  1. Onscreen Keyboard and Layout Designer
  2. WebCam Mouse
  3. Auto Click
  4. Auto Scan
  5. Manual Scan
  6. XY Mouse
  7. Radar Mouse
  8. Direction Mouse
Includes a Page-Reader system which allows any user with a vision limitation to:

  1. Read the content of any web page out loud
  2. Read the title of the frames out loud
  3. Read the content of a selected frame out loud
  4. Read the links on an open web page out loud
Fully compatible with the following Voice Recognition systems:

Scansoft Dragon Naturally Speaking 8.0 and above Microsoft Speech recognition 6.1 or greater


AbilityNet carries out regular state of the enation reports which explore the current state of play in accessible design for a specific sector of industry or government. eNation archives > .

If you are interested in taking part in social networking, AbilityNet is conducting research into the accessibility of Social networks. Go to AbilityNet social networking >

Techniques and Solutions

  • The WebAim website contains a wealth of useful information on accessible design.
Since our article on 19th September 2006 – Testing Your Website for Accessibility, the Web Accessibility Toolbar has been updated and improved. Version 2.0 of the toolbar which has been available from June 2007 is currently in beta and can be downloaded from here .

Accessibility Issues by disability Category

Understanding sensory impairment when designing a website: When dealing with website design and sensory impairment, we need to consider both Vision and Hearing. Thus article address some of the key issues to consider in the design process.

web tools

web browsers

Other Useful links