Common accessibility issues that can only be fixed by inclusive design

Image of Alice Taylor from AbilityNet

In our guest blog, Senior Accessibility and Usability Consultant with AbilityNet, Alice Taylor (pictured), shares her tips for inclusive design.
Usability is about designing products to be effective, efficient, and satisfying, while inclusive design is a design methodology that ensures that products and services are useful, easy to use and engaging to as many people as possible. (

Inclusive design is "the design of mainstream products and/or services that are accessible to, and usable by, as many people as reasonably possible without the need for special adaptation or specialised design" - (British Standards Institution).

A product or service that is designed inclusively and with good usability will be more accessible.

Important digital accessible design skills

On the web, it is important to consider both usability and inclusive design, as a website can be accessed in several different ways.

Image of a smartphone

For example, a website could be viewed on any device, accessed using a range of assistive technologies, or adapted based on user preferences. Inclusive design principles do not assume that one size fits all, and instead allows users to adapt the product or service to fit their needs.
A user’s impairments may not necessarily be permanent; for example, a user with a temporary disability such as a broken arm may experience the same barrier as a user that has a permanent disability.

Following inclusive design principles can help to address potential barriers and create a better user experience for all users, not just those who are disabled.

Build in adaptability

By creating a website that allows users to adapt it to fit their needs, common accessibility issues can be fixed. For example:

  • A website that is designed to work responsively benefits mobile users, but also benefits low vision users who choose to zoom into the page on desktop.
  • Good colour contrast makes it easier for low vision users to read text and perceive interactive components, but it also helps users who are viewing a screen outside in bright sunlight.
  • Providing captions on videos can help deaf users access the content, but users in environments such as on a crowded bus would also benefit.
  • A clear layout helps users with cognitive disabilities navigate the content, but it also makes it easier for all users as the layout is presented in a clear, easy to understand way.

Accessible design tips for a competitive edge: free webinar

I will be sharing tips for accessible design practices on our AbilityNet Live free webinar series next week on Tuesday 14 July, alongside fellow panellists from Sony and Moneysupermarket.

Sign up to join our free webinar: 'Accessible design tips for a competitive edge' on Tuesday 14 July 2020, 1pm (BST).

Webinar attendees will be able to access a 10% off discount code to redeem on one of our future online training courses - another reason it's worth registering to attend.

Take part in accessible design training

Later on in the year, AbilityNet’s 'Accessibility for Designers' online course will share more about key considerations for accessible design, such as recognising how responsive design and flexible layouts are important for accessibility, and how an accessible colour palette can benefit a wide range of users. The course provides you with key skills in Inclusive Design and Accessibility to help you provide a better user experience for all of your users. 

About Alice Taylor: 

Alice joined AbilityNet after spending five years working as a Front End Developer in a range of digital agencies. As a senior accessibility consultant in our Accessibility Services Team, Alice provides in-depth auditing of web/mobile websites and applications, and carries out design, wireframe and specialist assistive technology reviews, for a wide range of clients across the public and private sectors.

Further resources