Access All Areas: Insights on Web Accessibility

24 Jun 24 Colette Wilson Wyatt


We’re acknowledging July's Disability Pride Month by talking about accessibility, specifically web accessibility. This article will be our first in a series in which we’ll be introducing web accessibility, finding out why exactly we should be doing it, and then touching on some broad areas to consider when building web apps. So, let’s get down to brass tacks.

What is web accessibility?

Well, ever heard of WCAG? It stands for Web Content Accessibility Guidelines and has been used as the standard to measure a website’s accessibility compliance since its introduction in 1999.

Now in its fourth iteration, WCAG 2.2, the guidelines are updated regularly to reflect the evolving nature of the web. They are organised into four principles across three levels of conformance: must have (A), should have (AA), and good to have (AAA). The principles are broad categories, each containing numerous criteria of varying levels. Briefly, they include:

  • Perceivability: information is accessible to users of all abilities. For example, providing alternative text descriptions for images to aid users with a visual impairment.
  • Operability: navigation and interaction are possible for everyone. For example, keyboard users can access the interface as well as mouse users.
  • Understandability: information is presented clearly and the site behaves predictably.
  • Robustness: content can be consistently interpreted by users of all abilities.

Is web accessibility worth the effort?

From a social responsibility perspective, it’s the right thing to do. According to, 1 in 5 people in the UK have an impairment or disability. At a very basic level, this means we could assume roughly 20% of users may use assistive technologies or have additional needs when browsing the internet. For certain sectors, like healthcare, that number may be even greater. So, inclusivity is a huge reason why it is so important to ensure a website is accessible. Considering that WebAIM’s analysis shows that in 2024 a staggering 96% (almost) of the top million home pages had detected WCAG 2 failures, there is an enormous way to go in making the web an inclusive place.

But there are also other reasons to put in the time and effort. Accessibility enhancements often improve user experience across the board. Having well-organised, clear navigation structures, providing considered and easily digestible content, and ensuring adequate contrast and improved readability amounts to a better experience for all users. And, if neither of the above reasons have you convinced then perhaps cold, hard SERPs (Search Engine Results Pages) will. We may not know exactly how Google’s ranking algorithm works but sites that prioritise accessibility tend to rank better. That’s because, as mentioned above, accessibility is good for everyone. Sites with good accessibility standards often experience higher engagement, lower bounce rates, and generally offer a better user experience, which is good for SEO. Understanding the ‘what’ and the ‘why’, however, is the easy bit. The ‘how’ is the real challenge.

How do Tilt tackle accessibility?

At Tilt we try to ensure everything we deliver meets at least WCAG 2.2 Level AA standards. That requires everyone in the team to be on board with meeting this internal goal and to take responsibility for their contribution towards achieving it.

Ensuring our work is accessible doesn’t fall neatly into the remit of a single person or role, it is and should be the shared responsibility of an entire team – it’s a collaborative effort. It’s also worth noting that it’s much harder to retrofit accessibility than it is to consider upfront. That’s why we try to adopt an inclusive mindset in everything we do. At every stage of our process, accessibility is not only a consideration but a primary goal – and never an afterthought.

It starts at the beginning. At Tilt, we pour a lot of care and effort into strategy and concept development. We like to push the boundaries of what constitutes a web experience, and even at these early stages, accessibility is a defining requirement. It’s crucial to understand who your audience is and how their differing needs and abilities might affect the way they engage and interact with a potential concept. This is a big deal at Tilt. Recently, we built a learning module packaged up as a game. The game involves the learner guiding characters through a fictional world by making choices, meaning the context and the game’s core concepts need to be easily understood by all learners of all abilities. This encompasses a huge range of considerations from cognitive, like content comprehension, to practical, like can a learner using a screen reader navigate the experience to access the content. These are not things that can be added in afterwards, these are things that need to be baked in from the very start.

Laying the groundwork for accessibility at this early stage allows the various team members to confidently grab the baton as the project progresses into wireframing and visual design, and eventually development, QA (Quality Assurance) and, finally, UAT (User Acceptance Testing). Our designers and developers all have a solid understanding of the areas that need attention, ensuring our deliveries meet the standards for accessibility – from ensuring all UI and text components meet minimum contrast requirements, to ensuring keyboard and screen reader users are provided adequate alternatives wherever appropriate.

What’s next?

If you’re interested in making your own site – or possibly the sites you design or build – more accessible, or if you just fancy finding out more about web accessibility, stay tuned. Over the next few blog posts, we’ll cover specific topics in greater depth. These areas will cover several processes we perform to ensure that everything leaving our studio can reach the broadest audience possible.

The variety and scope of things to be aware of when it comes to web accessibility can be overwhelming. The most important advice we can give, whether you’re just starting or you’ve been around a little while is, to paraphrase Maya Angelou “…do the best you can until you know better, then do better.” A journey consists of a series of single steps. Eventually, the cumulative effect of all those steps is that you reach your destination. Focus on one thing at a time until you’re comfortable with it, then move on to the next.

We hope our series will help you gain a greater understanding of web accessibility and give you confidence in knowing how to prioritise accessibility in your own work. See you next time.

Get in touch if you want to chat about your next web project.