Do's and don'ts for accessibility

Understanding accessibility means we can build websites that work for everyone, whatever their access needs. These simple do's and don'ts explain how you can make your websites accessible for different access needs.


Designing for users on the autistic spectrum

Do…

  • Use simple colours
  • Write in plain language
  • Use simple sentences and bullets
  • make buttons and links descriptive
  • build simple and consistent layouts

Don't…

  • Use bright contrasting colours
  • Use figures of speech and idioms
  • Create a wall of text
  • Make buttons vague and unpredictable
  • Build complex and cluttered layouts

Designing for users of screen readers

Do…

  • Describe images and provide transcripts for video
  • Follow a linear logical layout
  • Structure content using HTML5
  • Build for keyboard use only
  • Write descriptive links and headings

Don't…

  • Only show information in an image or video
  • Spread content all over a page
  • Rely on text size and placement for structure
  • Force mouse or screen use
  • Write uninformative links and headings

Designing for users with low vision

Do…

  • Use good colour contrasts and a readable font size
  • Publish all information on web pages
  • Use a combination of colour, shapes and text
  • Follow a linear, logical layout
  • Put buttons and notifications in context

Don't…

  • Use low colour contrasts and small font size
  • Bury information in downloads
  • Only use colour to convey meaning
  • Spread content all over a page
  • Separate actions from their context

Designing for users with dyslexia

Do…

  • Use images and diagrams to support text
  • Align text to the left and keep a consistent layout
  • Consider producing materials in other formats (for example audio or video)
  • Keep content short, clear and simple
  • Let users change the contrast between background and text

Don't…

  • Use large blocks of heavy text
  • Underline words, use italics or write in capitals
  • Force users to remember things from previous pages - give reminders and prompts
  • Rely on accurate spelling - use autocorrect or provide suggestion
  • Put too much information in one place

Designing for users with physical or motor disabilities

Do…

  • Make large clickable actions
  • Give form fields space
  • Design for keyboard or speech only use
  • Design with mobile and touchscreen in mind
  • Provide shortcuts

Don't…

  • Demand precision
  • Bunch interactions together
  • Make dynamic content that requires a lot of mouse movement
  • Have short time out windows
  • Tire users with lots of typing and scrolling

Designing for users who are deaf or hard of hearing

Do…

  • Write in plain language
  • Use subtitles or provide transcripts for videos
  • Use a linear, logical layout
  • Break up content with sub-headings, images and videos
  • Let users ask for their preferred communication support when booking appointments

Don't…

  • Use complicated words or figures of speech
  • Put content in audio or video only
  • Make complex layouts and menus
  • Make users read long blocks of content
  • Make telephone the only means of contact for users

Designing for users with anxiety

Do…

  • Give users enough time to complete an action
  • Explain what will happen after completing a service
  • Make important information clear
  • Give users the support they need to complete a service
  • Let users check their answers before they submit them

Don't…

  • Rush users or set impractical time limits
  • Leave users confused about next steps or timeframes
  • Leave users uncertain about the consequences of their actions
  • Make support or help hard to access
  • Leave users questioning what answers they gave