When the WCAG established guidelines for which web accessibility features ensure a compliant online presence, their primary objective was to accommodate online all users with diverse needs, disabilities, or impairments. Website owners are liable for the accessibility of any commercial space, and any public-facing online assets that sell or market a product or service must be inclusive of all individuals. 

What’s often overlooked is the potential for any one of us to develop disabilities, impairments, or experience conditions and circumstances whereby web accessibility benefits us, simplifying and enhancing User Experience (UX) and online engagement. From an end user’s location, to their age, demographics, Internet connection, and a variety of online user needs, integrating accessibility options into websites to empower online user needs inherently celebrates Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) in the digital age.

With the insight and innovative technologies available that can cost-effectively ensure web accessibility, implementing accessibility options presents an opportunity to extend audience reach. Presenting a range of benefits to individuals of all walks of life, web accessibility features extend inclusion to everyone from students, to age-specific populations, rural communities, or people using various devices – anywhere, anytime.

Let’s take a deeper look at some of the web accessibility features that can benefit everyone and anyone online, from image alt text, to audio transcripts or captions, color contrast, simplified language, and more.

5 Web Accessibility Options Driving Inclusion Of All Online Users

1. Image Alt Text – An Accessibility Function Translating Visuals into Writing

Inclusion of image alt text is a common web accessibility function, adopted as a best practice to enable frictionless content engagement with assistive technologies. Tools like screen readers and braille displays support individuals with visual disabilities or impairments, or even cognitive challenges. Alt text is a clear, concise, and accurate description of images that’s scanned by assistive tech tools to convey the added value and insights of visual content.

But image alt text can also empower even broader audience engagement by leveraging comprehension of the important value images convey to individuals with a range of circumstances and conditions: 

  • An online user that may have temporary vision impairments as a result of injury or recovery from various types of eye surgeries. 
  • Individuals using text-based browsers like Lynx, a web browser that’s often used to simplify a user’s understanding of online content with greater speed and efficiency.
  • Drives a more efficient and seamless user experience for individuals using dial-up lines to connect to the internet, a more common way to browse the web in rural locations or by those with socio-economic barriers that may find high-bandwidth and high speed Wi-Fi connections too costly. Dial-up connections can slow webpage loading time, and as result, users may disable image loading to ensure access to online content faster and with greater ease.

Image Alt text is one the web accessibility features that also drives higher ranking for SEO, as the written description of images allows search engine crawlers to index pictures accurately, helping them rank higher in a search engine results page (SERP). Online users can benefit from finding the right content more efficiently, while website owners can gain increased traffic that could transpire into higher conversion rates, lead generation, and increased engagement.

2. Audio & Video Transcripts & Captions: Commonly Preferred Accessibility Options 

Providing audio and video transcripts or captions is one of the common web accessibility options implemented to ensure individuals with hearing impairments or disabilities can acquire the added value of these visual assets. 

The text of the transcripts and captions can be scanned by assistive technologies like screen readers, as Artificial Intelligence (AI) technology relays the messages of audio and video transcripts out loud. This way, transcripts can help ensure inclusion of online users with vision impairments or disabilities, or anyone who may prefer to listen to content via screen readers at any time and pace. This accessibility function can be especially useful for anyone who wants to review insights relayed following a live web meeting, webinar, or video broadcast. Transcripts and captions can also enable use of braille displays.

Individuals with ADHD will often opt to use transcripts and captions when engaging with various forms of audio or video content. While ADHD isn’t defined as a learning disability, studies show that 30-50% of children with ADHD also have a certain type of learning disability, which can compound challenges with concentration, comprehension, and the ability to stay engaged. 

With the increased rate of eLearning that incorporates video and audio content, transcripts or captions can serve as a guide to help retain attention and amplify focus. This can be especially relevant if the visual content of a video is not stimulating, or on the contrary, overly stimulating and distracting.

Transcripts and captions of video and audio content also support mobile engagement of online users on laptops or smartphones in public spaces. Consider a student immersed in eLearning materials, situated in a quiet common space like a library, or anyone working in a shared open space that has muted device volume in consideration of peers. Video and audio transcripts and captions become an invaluable means to engage with the audio of these assets, even if it’s just a personal preference for processing information.

3. Color Contrast – Accessibility Options Extend Beyond Vision Impairments

Incorporating web accessibility options like ample color contrast of text on a background inherently aids individuals with low vision, or various forms of visual impairments and disabilities. Someone who may be color blind or experience challenges deciphering colors and shades can benefit from sufficient color contrast, particularly if by default a text color is similar to background colors, tone, shade, and or from the same family.

Research indicates that 93% of American adults use the internet, and another source shares that studies have reported an increasing decline in vision contrast sensitivity for people aged 40 to 50. Sufficient color contrast can help support a barrier-free UX and improved readability for individuals with these vision challenges. 

And with the increasing rate of remote work in a vast range of environments that only require internet connection, high color contrast is one of the accessibility functions enabling improved readability and optimal UX on any device or screen size, and in multiple lighting conditions. Imagine someone working with a strong glare of light that impedes their ability to read text on a background with insufficient color contrast. Having the capacity to instantly adjust, or ensure sufficient color contrast from the get-go can be game changing.

4. Simplified, Straightforward Language and UI

One of the most important and commonly known best practices to ensure accessibility of written online content is use of simple, clear, and concise language, supporting the inclusion of people with learning or cognitive disabilities. Various conditions or impairments may cause these users to experience difficulties processing complex phrasing, jargon, acronyms, and colloquialisms. But this web accessibility option has also become an expected standard to ensure quick and simplified scanning, skimming, and processing of core ideas and key takeaways for any online user.

Written content that conveys ideas with clarity also benefits: 

  • a second language reader or learner
  • a beginner reader
  • Individuals with low literacy levels

For individuals using assistive technologies like screen readers and braille displays, using simple and clear language with accurate punctuation and grammar drives a more seamless translation of content with minimal interruptions of scanning and relaying text. 

5. Intuitive & Simple Navigation Design & Layout of UI Content

The physical layout of content in a website’s UI can also be paramount to inclusion and engagement levels of diverse online users and their needs. As a rule of thumb, it’s recommended to avoid dense bodies of text, and instead, lay out content in short paragraphs with sufficient line spacing to ensure ease of readership. Distinct formatting and specification of webpage titles, headings, and links help support readership with assistive technologies like screen readers and Text-to-Speech (TTS) tools.  

UserWay Widget Automates Web Accessibility Functions

UserWay’s AI-powered Widget empowers all website owners to provide key web accessibility features with just one click. Critical web accessibility functions that help ensure user inclusion are available with ease, and cost-effectively. 

With the widget scanning your website to identify any web accessibility violations, like missing or sub-par image alt text, for example, UserWay’s solution offers the widest WCAG compliance, guiding users or automating remediation of any fixes required. Enabling essential accessibility options like smart color contrast, text spacing, voice navigation, screen readers, paused animation, and so much more is easy in one user-friendly solution.


What are some web accessibility features that ensure inclusion of all online users?

Some of the more common web accessibility options that drive user inclusion and enhanced UX include, but are not limited to, video and audio transcripts and captions, sufficient color contrast, simplified and straightforward language, dyslexia fonts, an enlarged cursor, text spacing, and more. These and other web accessibility features support a seamless UX and celebrate Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) for individuals with disabilities and impairments, while also amplifying accessibility for users with temporary disabilities, or those who prefer to engage with online content in a specific way. 

Why is it important to create a website with accessibility options?

The WCAG guidelines provide a golden standard for digital and web accessibility. Website owners have both a social and business responsibility to ensure online inclusion for all users, alongside legal liability to meet compliance requirements. An accessible website can help ensure sound legal standing of a business’ or organization’s online presence, while also broadening the reach of content to users of diverse walks of life globally.

How can I simplify integration of a web accessibility function into my website?

An ideal solution and best practice adopted by website owners globally is using an AI-powered web accessibility widget that automatically scans your website to identify violations and fix them, while also providing guidance for remediation, reports, and near-instant enablement of accessibility functions.