How to Design Accessible Websites with Webflow

Discover the importance of web accessibility and learn how to create accessible websites using Webflow's suite of tools for accessible content creation and testing.

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Jason Spidle

Accessibility is not just a buzzword. And it's not just a fundamental aspect of good web design. It's a legal requirement that everyone can access and enjoy your website, regardless of ability, preferences, or devices. In this blog post, we'll show you how to design accessible websites with Webflow, a powerful and intuitive web design platform that lets you create stunning websites without coding.

In this blog post, we'll explain why accessibility matters, how to create an accessible Webflow site, and why Webflow is an excellent choice for accessibility-focused projects at Foundry.

Before we begin, let's talk a little more about Webflow. Webflow is a user-friendly website builder that enables you to create sites without coding knowledge. It's perfect for creative professionals, freelancers, and agencies looking to build and manage big websites. Webflow is committed to building a better, more accessible web, and it provides tools and resources to help users create accessible websites. So it's ideally suited for the task at hand.

Understanding accessibility

Accessibility is the practice of making digital content available to all people, regardless of their physical or cognitive abilities. This practice includes people with disabilities such as visual, hearing, motor, and cognitive impairments. It also extends to people who need help accessing digital content due to technical limitations, such as those with slow internet connections or limited computer resources.

The Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) are a set of guidelines that define best practices for accessibility. It's a set of standards and best practices for making web content accessible to people with disabilities. WCAG covers four main principles of accessibility: perceivable, operable, understandable, and robust. Each principle has several guidelines and success criteria that provide specific recommendations for making web content accessible.

WCAG provides a common framework and language for web developers, designers, quality assurance analysts, and users to evaluate and improve the accessibility of web content. By following WCAG, you can ensure that your website meets the needs and expectations of a diverse range of users, including those who use assistive technologies such as screen readers, magnifiers, keyboards, voice commands, or alternative input devices.

There are a lot of additional benefits that come with WCAG compliance, including:

  • Improved user experience and satisfaction of your website visitors.
  • Increased reach and visibility of your website to a broader audience.
  • Enhanced reputation and credibility of your brand.
  • Reduced risk of legal issues and lawsuits.
  • Improved SEO and performance of your website.

Creating an accessible Webflow site

Webflow doesn't just make it easy to build a beautiful website without code. Webflow also makes it easy to make that site accessible. Webflow offers a suite of tools that aid in creating accessible content, testing for issues, and automatically identifying problem areas.

  • Semantic HTML elements to help assistive technologies, such as screen readers, understand the structure and content of your website by using heading tags (like H1, H2, H3, etc.) to create a clear information hierarchy on each page.
  • Built-in ARIA (Accessible Rich Internet Applications) support for interactive elements, such as dropdown menus and tabs, to enhance the semantic hierarchy of your site.
  • Visual indicators that show when an element has keyboard focus.
  • REM-based customizable text size and line spacing allow visually impaired users to adjust the text as needed.
  • Automatic generation of image alt text attributes.
  • Built-in audit tools that can validate your designs against WCAG standards.
  • Vision impairment simulators so you can see how your website appears to different visually impaired audiences.
  • A web accessibility checklist that will help you double-check that you've got everything covered before launching.

Webflow also has an entire course dedicated to learning the intricacies of accessibility available at Webflow University.

Validating your website & finishing touches

Testing your website for accessibility is crucial to ensure that it meets the WCAG standards and the needs of all your users. Here are some tools and methods for testing your website for accessibility:

  • WebAIM's Wave tool is a free online tool that checks your website for WCAG compliance and provides feedback on errors and warnings.
  • Accessibility Insights is a free browser extension that helps you diagnose and fix accessibility issues on your website.
  • Manual testing involves using assistive technologies like screen readers, magnifiers, and keyboard-only navigation to test your website for accessibility.
  • User testing involves recruiting users with disabilities to test your website for accessibility and provide feedback on their experience.

By following WCAG standards, using Webflow's features, designing with accessibility in mind, and testing your website for accessibility, you can create websites that are beautiful, functional, and accessible to all. Take the first step today and start designing for accessibility with Webflow!

For more information about accessibility and Webflow Designer, check out the resources below: