According to the World Wide Web Consortium’s Web Accessibility Initiative (W3C WAI), web accessibility means that “websites, tools, and technologies are designed and developed so that people with disabilities can…perceive, understand, navigate, interact with, and contribute to the Web.” In other words, it helps people engage online despite a vast range in abilities, situational limitations, and even slow internet connection. W3C’s Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) spell out international standards and benchmarks for Internet web accessibility, and unfortunately, many websites miss the mark. In fact, a WebAIM (Web Accessibility In Mind) 2024 report evaluating the accessibility of the top 1 million homepages, discovered that only 4.1% of homepages met the WCAG 2 guidelines. (For more information regarding WebAIM’s methodology and report findings, click here.) WebAIM, established in 1999, is part of the Institute for Disability Research, Policy & Practice at Utah State University. 

I recently came across a website that was using a web accessibility widget, accessiBe, and I was impressed by the customization it offered to users. As a research analyst, I’ve encountered thousands of websites over the years, but this was the first time I had seen web accessibility done exceptionally well. With easy on/off sliders and buttons, here is a glimpse of the accessibility options provided by the widget:

  • Seizure Safe Profile – clears flashes/blinking and reduces colors that may induce seizure activity
  • Vision Impaired Profile – enhances the website’s visuals for those with tunnel vision, cataracts, glaucoma, etc.
  • ADHD Friendly Profile – reduces distractions, focuses on essentials to improve focus for users with ADHD and neurodevelopmental disorders
  • Cognitive Disability Profile – assists with reading so individuals with autism, dyslexia, and other cognitive disabilities can more easily focus
  • Keyboard Navigation (Motor) – allows motor-impaired individuals to use their keyboard to navigate the website
  • Blind Users (Screen Reader) – allows compatibility with screen-readers typically used by blind users

In addition to these special adjustments, users can also customize the font, font size, alignment, line and letter spacing, and highlight links and titles. Adjustments can also be made to the website’s colors, contrast, and saturation to improve users’ experiences. Further, images and animations can be hidden, sounds can be muted, and overall scalability can be modified.

AccessiBe is far from the only web accessibility widget available. UserWay, EqualWeb, and Equally AI are other tools I’ve encountered. So if you’re looking to make your website more inclusive and accessible to a diverse range of audiences, look into WCAG and ADA-compliant widgets.