Why Accessibility Matters: The Importance of Inclusive Website Design

January 23, 2024

Improving digital accessibility on websites and mobile devices is crucial for businesses in Australia. The number of lawsuits related to accessibility has increased in recent years, making it necessary for organisations to address digital product accessibility. Inclusive design is about creating interfaces that don't exclude anyone, taking into consideration the diversity of human experience. It is not only an ethical responsibility but also a smart business move, as people with disabilities have significant spending power in the economy.

Key Takeaways:

  • Accessibility in web design is essential for businesses in Australia to avoid legal issues and reach a broader audience.
  • Inclusive website design considers the diverse needs and experiences of all users, including those with disabilities.
  • Inclusive design not only eliminates potential discrimination but also improves the user experience for everyone.
  • Adhering to Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) ensures that websites meet accessibility standards.
  • Creating an inclusive website design is a strategic business move that can lead to increased customer satisfaction and loyalty.

The Impact of Inaccessible Web Design Scenarios

Inaccessible web design can have significant consequences, leading to issues such as discrimination, lawsuits, and financial harm. These scenarios demonstrate the real-world implications of inaccessible websites and the need for inclusive design practices to ensure equal access for all users.

Accessibility Issues

  • A government website with a long, non-savable form and a short timeout can be extremely challenging for people with learning disabilities. This inaccessible design hinders their ability to access essential services and information.
  • Websites that rely on images without text equivalents exclude visually impaired users. They are unable to access important details, such as sales promotions or critical announcements.
  • A department store's website redesign may inadvertently remove essential features for visually impaired users, making it difficult for them to navigate and potentially requiring them to seek assistance from others.

Lawsuits and Discrimination

Inaccessible web design can lead to lawsuits and accusations of discrimination. Users with disabilities who are unable to access certain websites or digital services due to barriers may file complaints or take legal action against the organisations responsible. These legal challenges not only highlight the financial risks associated with inaccessible design but also emphasise the importance of inclusivity and equal access for all.

By considering the impact of inaccessible web design scenarios, organisations can proactively address accessibility issues, mitigating the risk of financial harm and discrimination while creating an inclusive digital environment for all users.

The Scope of Inclusive Design and Accessibility

Inclusive design is not limited to accommodating permanent disabilities; it extends to various other aspects, including temporary disabilities, situational disabilities, and diversity. By considering these factors, websites and apps can be created to cater to a wide range of users, ensuring accessibility and usability for everyone.

  1. Permanent disabilities: Inclusive design addresses the needs of individuals with permanent disabilities, such as visual impairments, hearing impairments, mobility limitations, and cognitive disabilities. By implementing features like alt text for images, closed captioning for videos, and keyboard accessibility, websites can provide a better user experience for these users.
  2. Temporary disabilities: Inclusive design also considers temporary disabilities that people may experience due to illness or injury. For example, a person with a broken arm may have difficulty using a mouse, but if a website provides keyboard navigation options, it becomes more accessible to them.
  3. Situational disabilities: Inclusive design takes into account situational disabilities that may occur in certain contexts or circumstances. For instance, a person holding a newborn child may have their hands occupied and may require voice-controlled navigation or larger touch targets on a mobile app.
  4. Diversity: Inclusive design embraces diversity in all its forms, including language, culture, gender, and age. Websites should be designed with cultural nuances in mind, ensuring that they are localised and suitable for users from different regions and backgrounds. User interfaces should be inclusive of different gender identities, and content should be easily readable by users of various age groups.

Inclusive design recognizes that accessibility is not just about catering to individuals with permanent disabilities but about creating a digital landscape that can accommodate the diverse needs of all users, regardless of their abilities or circumstances.

people pointing at laptop screen

Practical Tips for Creating Accessible Websites

Creating an accessible website is crucial for ensuring that all users, regardless of their abilities, can access and navigate your content easily. When designing your website, consider the following practical tips:

Clean Layouts

Start with a clean and minimal layout that allows for easy navigation. Avoid cluttered designs that can overwhelm users with excessive information. A clean layout ensures that users can focus on the most important elements of your website without distractions.

Colour Contrast

Consider users with visual impairments and ensure that the colour contrast on your website is sufficient. Use high contrast colours between text and background to make it easier for users to read. This helps individuals with low vision or colour blindness to access your content effectively.

For up-to-date guidance on colour schemes that make your website stand out whilst aiding accessibility review our 2024 article.  

Alt Text

Add descriptive alt text to all images on your website. Alt text provides a textual description of the image, allowing screen readers to convey the information to visually impaired users. This ensures that everyone can understand the context and purpose of the image.


Include descriptive metadata for each page on your website. Metadata provides additional information about the page's content and helps search engines understand the purpose and relevance of your website. Optimise your metadata with relevant keywords to improve search engine optimization and increase visibility.

Descriptive Hyperlinks

Use descriptive hyperlinks that clearly convey the destination or purpose of the link. Avoid generic phrases like "click here" and instead use meaningful anchor text that accurately describes the linked content. This helps all users understand the purpose of the link, particularly those who rely on screen readers.


Maintain consistency in your design patterns throughout your website. Consistent navigation menus, buttons, and icons make it easier for users to navigate and understand your website's interface. Consistency also enhances the user experience and makes your website more user-friendly.

By following these practical tips, you can create an accessible website that caters to the diverse needs of all users. Remember that accessibility is not only about compliance with standards but also about ensuring equal access and usability for everyone.

The Benefits of Inclusive Design

Inclusive design offers numerous advantages for businesses, ranging from improved search engine rankings to enhanced user satisfaction. By prioritising accessibility in website design, organisations can enjoy the following benefits:

  1. Improved Search Engine Rankings: Accessible websites tend to perform better in search engine rankings. Search engines value websites that provide a positive user experience and are accessible to a wider audience.
  2. Reduced Maintenance Costs: Inclusive design helps minimise maintenance costs in the long run. By considering accessibility factors during the design process, businesses can avoid costly redesigns or modifications to make their websites accessible after development.
  3. Expanded Audience Reach: By embracing inclusive design principles, organisations can reach a larger audience. Accessible websites allow people with disabilities and diverse needs to access and engage with the content, expanding the market potential for products and services.
  4. Enhanced User Satisfaction: Inclusive design focuses on providing a positive user experience for all users, regardless of their abilities or circumstances. By prioritising accessibility, businesses can create websites that are easier to navigate, understand, and interact with, resulting in higher user satisfaction levels.
  5. Creation of Equal Opportunities: Inclusive design promotes equal opportunities for all users. By ensuring accessibility, organisations eliminate barriers and provide equal access to information, products, and services, regardless of physical disabilities or impairments.

By considering the benefits of inclusive design, businesses can make informed decisions that not only result in accessible websites but also contribute to improved search rankings, reduced costs, expanded audience reach, enhanced user satisfaction, and equal opportunities for all users.

computer screen with design on it

Understanding Inclusivity and Diversity in Design

Inclusive design is a fundamental approach that aims to avoid exclusion by recognizing and embracing the full range of human diversity. It is essential for businesses and organisations to make conscious design decisions that prioritise inclusivity and address accessibility issues.

Design decisions should not unintentionally exclude any particular demographic but should instead cater to the needs of a broader audience. Failure to address inclusivity may result in designs that only resonate with a specific group, missing out on the opportunity to captivate a wider range of users.

Recognizing diversity and incorporating it into design decisions is key to creating unique and accessible experiences for all users. It is important to understand that anyone can face difficulties or limitations at certain points in their lives, emphasising the significance of inclusive design.

Principles of Inclusive Design

Inclusive design is rooted in a set of principles that ensure accessibility and usability for all users. By following these principles, organisations can create a digital experience that caters to a diverse range of abilities and circumstances.

Comparable Experience

One of the key principles of inclusive design is to provide a comparable experience for all users. This means that regardless of their abilities, everyone should be able to access and navigate a website or application in a way that meets their needs. By considering various accessibility features and incorporating them into the design, organisations can ensure that all users have an equal opportunity to engage with their digital content.

Situation Consideration

Inclusive design takes into account the different situations users may find themselves in. Whether it's a temporary disability like a broken arm or a situational disability like using a mobile device in a noisy environment, the design should adapt to accommodate these variables. By considering these situations and addressing the challenges they present, organisations can create a more inclusive digital experience.


Consistency in design patterns is crucial for an inclusive user experience. By maintaining a consistent layout, navigation system, and overall design, users can quickly familiarise themselves with the interface and navigate through the content more efficiently. This consistency is particularly important for users with cognitive disabilities or visual impairments, who rely on predictable interfaces to understand and interact with digital content.

User Control

Empowering users with control over the interface is another fundamental principle of inclusive design. Users should have the ability to customise their experience based on their preferences and needs. This can include options for adjusting font sizes, colour contrast, and enabling or disabling certain features. By giving users control, organisations can ensure their digital products are adaptable and accommodating to a wide range of user preferences.

Overall, mastering website typography will allow the user to feel comfortable with the content and is an important aspect to consider during design.

Offering Choices

Inclusive design is about providing choices for users to complete tasks and access information. By offering multiple pathways to reach the same content or accomplish the same goal, organisations can cater to different user preferences, abilities, and technologies. This can include offering alternative navigation methods, providing text alternatives for images, or presenting content in multiple formats such as text, audio, and video.

Content Prioritisation

Effective content prioritisation is essential for an inclusive user experience. By identifying and prioritising the most important information or functionality, organisations can ensure that users with limited attention spans or cognitive disabilities can easily find what they need. This can involve using clear headings, relevant subheadings, and concise summaries to guide users through the content hierarchy.

Value Addition

Inclusive design emphasises the importance of adding value to the overall user experience. This can be achieved by incorporating feature enhancements that cater specifically to different user needs or preferences. Examples include implementing speech recognition for users with mobility impairments, providing audio descriptions for visually impaired users, or offering built-in translation options for users with limited English proficiency. By adding value through these enhancements, organisations can create a more inclusive and engaging digital experience for all users.


Inclusive design is not just a moral responsibility; it is a business necessity. By prioritising accessibility and embracing inclusive design principles, organisations can unlock a range of benefits. Firstly, they can avoid legal issues associated with inaccessible websites, protecting their reputation and finances. Secondly, inclusive design helps businesses reach a broader market, ensuring that their products and services are accessible to all users, regardless of their abilities or circumstances. This increases audience reach and provides equal opportunities for everyone.

Moreover, accessible websites tend to perform better in search engine rankings, improving online visibility and attracting more organic traffic. This, in turn, reduces maintenance costs and enhances the overall efficiency of online operations. By embracing inclusive design, businesses can create websites that offer a positive user experience for all, fostering customer satisfaction and loyalty.

In conclusion, inclusive design is a powerful strategy that not only promotes inclusivity but also yields tangible business benefits. By creating accessible websites, organisations can enhance their online presence, attract a wider audience, and mitigate legal risks. Inclusive design is not limited to a moral obligation; it is an opportunity for businesses to demonstrate their commitment to diversity and provide an exceptional user experience for everyone.

For further guidance on the most critical and beneficial design aspects, be sure to browse our complete website design catalogue.  


Why is web accessibility important?

Web accessibility is important because it ensures that people with disabilities can access and navigate websites and web content. It promotes inclusivity and equal opportunities for all users, regardless of their abilities.

What are some examples of inaccessible web design scenarios?

Examples of inaccessible web design scenarios include websites with long, non-savable forms and short timeouts, websites that rely on images without text equivalents, and websites that remove essential features for visually impaired users during redesigns.

What does inclusive design encompass?

Inclusive design encompasses permanent disabilities, temporary disabilities, situational disabilities, as well as diverse factors such as language, culture, gender, and age.

How can I create an accessible website?

To create an accessible website, you should start with a clean and minimal layout that is easy to navigate. Consider colour contrast, provide alternative visual cues, add descriptive alt text and metadata, use clear hyperlinks, and maintain consistency in design patterns.

What are the benefits of inclusive design?

Inclusive design brings benefits such as improved search engine rankings, reduced maintenance costs, increased audience reach, and a more satisfying user experience for all users.

Why is inclusivity and diversity important in design?

Inclusivity and diversity are important in design because failure to address these can lead to designs that only cater to a specific demographic, excluding a broader audience. It is important to recognize that anyone can experience difficulty or limitations at some point in their lives.

What are the principles of inclusive design?

The principles of inclusive design include providing a comparable experience for all users, considering different situations users may be in, maintaining consistency in design patterns, giving users control over the interface, offering choices for completing tasks, prioritising content for a better user experience, and adding value through feature enhancements.

What is the conclusion of inclusive design?

Inclusive design is not only a moral responsibility but also a necessity for businesses. It helps organisations avoid legal issues, reach a broader market, and create equal opportunities for all users. By prioritising accessibility, businesses can provide a positive user experience for all users.