8th December 2022

Stop making accessibility an afterthought.

Imagine you’re left handed, visually impaired, colour blind, prone to seizures or simply just a digital dinosaur. With everything in the world turning to digital, your everyday tasks to live and to interact socially are now all online. How do you feel? Challenged? Frustrated?

This is how more than 20% of the population, 1.3 billion people feel. The majority are not being catered for in the digital world. And from a business perspective this is a huge volume of audiences you are excluding.

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“Accessibility is a hot topic, but too often it’s still an afterthought” - Erica Wong

With digital taking over our lives, its critical that we are designing with all users in mind and improve the experience for all.

Why is accessibility sooo important?

Because it's a basic human right. Giving people access to digital is essential in today’s world and its important that no-one is excluded from the opportunity to participate in society. And with that comes good business: an intuitive user experience, beautiful design and brillant brand-building. Which in business language equates to: Greater reach, brand distinctiveness and increased user engagement.

‘A UK focus study found that ‘Four million people abandoned a retail website because of the barriers they found, costing retailers £17.2 Billion!’

Accessibility is: a measurement of a user’s ability to use products and services, and the ease at which they can meet this goal.

Accessibility is not just designing for those with a disability, it’s designing for everyone. And it's by no means an easy task. If a brand uses an illegible typeface or poorly contrasted colours, it’s not an inclusive brand. If a design layout needs an alternative version to pass accessibility, it's not a good design.


Tackling the right to be human.

Getting the right balance:

Accessibility needs to be considered to the highest degree but a brand needs to still remain distinctive. A full overhaul of the design system is often not needed. For many it is just taking a closer look at the logo, colours and typography.

Here are some quick wins that your team can start considering when creating anything digital:

The quick wins:


The lowest hanging fruit for improving accessibility is ensuring high colour contrasts to improve the readability of content. According to WebAIM: in 2022 there 83.9% of home pages found text contrast issues.

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There are several tools that help you to detect colour contrasts across design and development:

Colour contrasts are not just text related we also need to consider the interactions and hover states of buttons or links and how these.


Zoom levels

Most of us are now regularly checking the responsiveness of our sites using dev tools, but one important factor that is often overlooked is the desktop zoom functionality. Your design should be able to accommodate a desktop zoom of up to 400%. The most common issues faced when a desktop are zoomed this far are:

  • The sticky nav covers most of the viewport
  • Unable to scroll / certain areas of the design are cut off
  • Margins and padding are too large for the content size.

It's down to a developer to make sure that when a screen is enlarged the text doesn't become illegible:

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Here are some helpful tips to ensure your spacing and content is displayed correctly for users that need to zoom.

Content is king!

People with low vision often make use of on-screen readers to convert text to speech so that the person can hear the words on the site. Having all your text in images on your website or even emails will help to ensure users can understand all elements of your website and your offering.

Another handy tip is to have narrow width content blocks, making its much easier for all users to read- WCAG recommends keeping a line of text below 80 characters.

Most importantly: Test..

User testing is critical to understand all aspects of your designs but most critically to make sure that your site is accessible to users of varying abilities.

And remember it’s not all on the designers

Improving accessibility in design and brand is key, but it doesn’t just sit with the designers, from strategists, copywriters, developers and even clients we all play an important role of bringing accessibility into the hearts of creative thinking, to build more inclusive brands.

Accessibility is growing in importance, we need to ensure that the rapidly expanding digital world is open for everyone. It's no longer a checkbox exercise, many companies miss this critical step in investing time to understand the relevance and value of content, to improve the value of the digital experience they are delivering.