Designing and developing websites for everyone.
What is web accessibility?
Web accessibility means that every web interface is functional for everyone, including people with permanent or temporary disabilities such as auditory, cognitive, neurological, physical, speech, visual. Accessibility features are not only essential to disabled people, they’re useful to everyone in different situations.
Check out the video below by W3C WAI to better understand the importance of web accessibility. W3C WAI stands for World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) Web Accessibility Initiative (WAI).
You’ll find other useful links at the bottom of this article.
How to build accessible sites in Webflow?
To make your job easier, Webflow provides a few auditing tools to help you with basic accessibility features as you build your project.
A red rectangle will appear on the left side of your canvas when there are issues on the selected page. By clicking on it, you’ll see the Audits panel and the list of issues detected.
In addition, Webflow provides a thorough accessibility checklist that includes everything you need to know: https://webflow.com/accessibility/checklist.
However, due to a lack of time or resources, you may not always be able to go through all the points in the above checklist for every project build.
Another barrier to accessibility as a topic is that most resources are not easily comprehensible by everyone. Increasing accessibility awareness is important should be supported by learning resources that address designers and developers of different levels.
Hence, I’ve put together a simplified list that facilitates me in making Webflow sites more accessible and becoming a better builder.
👉 Basic accessibility features:
(I typically take care of these as I plan and build the site.)
One of the first things to consider when organizing the site content is the logical sequence of headings. The Audits panel will flag any issues in the headings hierarchy.
Image alt text
Add alt text to images that are relevant to the context. Set as decorative any other image.
For images in the rich text element in the CMS, just the click the image and then go to settings as shown below.
Learn more about how to choose image alt text at the following link: https://webaim.org/techniques/alttext/.
Non-descriptive link content
The link content should be short and contextual. Users should be able to know what to expect by clicking on the link.
Learn more about non-descriptive link content at the following link: https://university.webflow.com/lesson/audit-panel#non-descriptive-link-content.
Colour contrast between text & background
The ratio of the colour contrast should be at least 4.5:1.
If you have an image as a background and text elements on top of it like in the image below, you might see a contrast failure when you select the paragraph element. One way to circumvent this is by adding a background colour to the content-wrapper.
Learn more about contrast ratios at the following link: https://university.webflow.com/lesson/make-your-site-more-accessible.
As a user, I need field labels and placeholders to help me understand what action is expected from me. Make sure you’re using the specific field label element, not a text element.
Footers should be built as lists, especially when there are multiple sections and links.
Grids layout & flexbox
You might encounter accessibility issues when reorganizing elements visually, instead of logically. This could create confusion as assistive technologies follow the logical order.
For example, when using grid-auto-flow: dense or row-reverse/column-reverse in flexbox, we change the way elements are visually displayed, not their placement in the page source.
Learn more at the following links:
👉 Additional checks
(I usually focus more on these in the QA stage of the project.)
Check if you can navigate the site with the keyboard, making sure that all the focused states are set.
Although this is something we take care of when deciding the UI of the site, it’s worth using the Visual preview feature that allows you to check how people with specific visual impairments see your site.
Blinking and flashing content
Ensure that animations and interactions do not distract users from the content. They shouldn’t get in the way of how users interact with the site.
You can change the speed of the anchor links transition as you prefer with custom attributes. For accessibility, it should scroll immediately to the element with no delay.
Web accessibility resources
If you want to go deeper in researching web accessibility, here are a few resources to get you started:
Accessibility resources by Webflow:
Documentation on accessibility in Webflow by F’insweet:
If you want to get in touch with me, choose your preferred method here: https://www.matechs.com/mirelaprifti
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