It would be fair to say that bringing up any type of dialogue around death, loss and grief is not a comfortable topic for most of us. And yet, death is an inevitable part of all of our lives, impacting us all in different ways. Amid the whirlwind of emotions that come with loss, most of us will need to come into contact with individuals working in the funeral industry to address the daunting task of arranging a funeral. 

When it comes to funerals, (much like most services), the process of planning has increasingly moved online. This is a shift that has transformed the traditional landscape of the funeral industry, because now, from the comfort of our homes, we have the option of attending funerals physically or to virtually attend funeral services that are streamed online. These options are all a testament to the advancements in technology. 

But this move to online funeral services involves a huge reliance on technology. It raises a key point: Do these tech solutions really serve everyone?

When an estimated 1.3 billion people are experiencing a significant disability, it’s important to consider whether the shift to digital funerals is truly inclusive. How easy is it to connect to a loved one’s funeral service online? What are the technical functions involved? Where might potential barriers lie?

If someone is already grappling with loss, the last thing they need is a barrier in the technology platform, hindering them from participating or being able to view a funeral service. Are these services designed with everyone in mind, or do they risk leaving some behind?

It boils down to accessibility. Funeral websites and connected streaming services need to make sure everyone can ‘attend’ digitally and participate fully, without added frustration or exclusion. Isn’t it time we build accessibility into funeral websites so even as tech advances, no-one is left out, especially in moments when connection matters the most?

Let’s explore the changes in the funeral industry, underlining the urgent need for both accessibility and inclusivity within online funeral services.

Why does inclusivity in the funeral industry matter?

Every year, about 2.4 million funerals take place. And with baby boomers hitting their golden years, we’re only going to see more. That’s millions trying to use funeral websites at any one time. Now, think about stat: according to The WebAIM Strategic Accessibility Framework, 98.1% of home pages alone fall short of being accessible.

Almost every homepage in existence is falling short on accessibility. In the funeral industry, aimed at providing comfort in tough times, accessibility is of pivotal importance. No one should have to wrestle with a website while grieving. Shouldn’t the funeral industry take it upon themselves to create websites that everyone can use easily?

How do you create accessible online memorial services?

Imagine you’re attending a funeral, but instead of sitting in a physical setting, you’re in the comfort of your own home, surrounded by family. That’s what the shift to online memorial services felt like for many during the COVID-19 pandemic. Suddenly, we were navigating grief and remembrance through screens, an unusual, but necessary pivot from the traditional gatherings that brought us comfort.

The transition wasn’t just about adapting to a new medium; it was a massive change in how we say goodbye. Streaming funerals, a concept once alien, became a lifeline, a way to bridge the gap when we couldn’t physically be together.

These digital services have now become a major part of how we commemorate lives, so that distance, health, or circumstance doesn’t keep anyone from paying their respects and sharing in the collective mourning. 

Let’s now talk about another aspect of inclusivity in funeral services: staying on the right side of accessibility law. Did you know that failing to make your digital assets compliant to accessibility law can expose you to legal risks? 

Before diving into the practical steps to reach website accessibility, let’s reflect on how funeral websites and online memorial services can also stay compliant with digital accessibility law.

ADA law: are your funeral websites legally compliant?

There is no industry that does not come under the legal microscope when it comes to web accessibility. And the funeral industry is no different. 

Funeral homes across the board are dealing with fines and lawsuits over website accessibility. Is your business unwittingly skating on thin ice, risking legal repercussions and the trust and respect of the communities you serve?

In an industry centered around compassion, the failure to provide an accessible and non-compliant online experience can not only tarnish your reputation but also alienate your customers.

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) is both a legal requirement and a benchmark for inclusivity and accessibility. It ensures that your services are available to everyone, regardless of their physical or cognitive abilities. 

To the funeral industry, a sector historically less touched by regulation, it’s time to lean in. The digital age doesn’t exempt any business from the responsibility of ensuring all levels of accessibility and inclusivity. So, if you do not have website accessibility and compliance on your radar yet, let’s find out how you can make things right.

What can you do to align with ADA regulations? 

Looking to make your funeral website ADA-compliant and more accessible to all your existing and potential customers? Here’s where to start:

  • Start by conducting an accessibility audit of your website

Identify where your website falls short and make the necessary enhancements. Partner with experts who can conduct an Accessibility Audit for you to evaluate your digital services to build compliance levels, and can provide you with a thorough report on where the errors lie and how to rectify them.

  • Learn about the different accessibility testing tools

Familiarizing oneself with these testing tools ensures that the funeral industry remains sensitive to the diverse needs of grieving families, making sure no one is left behind in their time of need.

  • Educate your team about the importance of inclusivity

Make accessibility part of your business ethos, not an afterthought. Invest in training for your staff to understand ADA compliance as an opportunity to serve a broader community more thoughtfully and with compassion.

  • Engage with your audience 

Feedback from users, especially those with disabilities, can offer invaluable insights into how your services can be more accessible. This feedback loop can transform the way you operate, making your business not just compliant with laws, but deeply connected to the needs of all families during their most vulnerable times.

This is your call to action. The funeral industry has the unique opportunity to lead by example, demonstrating that respect and accessibility are at the top of the agenda.

How can you make your funeral website accessible? 

Making your funeral website accessible to all is a smart and responsible way to show your commitment to inclusivity. Here are seven practical steps to help you build accessibility into funeral websites:

1. Provide clear navigation for peace of mind: When people land on your site, you want them to stay there. You want them to find it easy to navigate your products and services with straightforward paths to information on your online memorials services and more. Clear navigation gives your users convenience and easy access to your business. It helps you carve out an online space where everyone, including people with disabilities, can move around your site easily. 

2. Add alt text to bring photos to life: Photos on funeral websites are powerful. They tell stories. They honor peoples’ memories. Alt text is vital because it makes images on the web accessible to everyone, including individuals who use screen readers due to visual impairments. By providing a descriptive text alternative for images, alt text ensures that all users can understand and engage with the content, even if they cannot see the images directly. This not only enhances inclusivity but also improves SEO by helping search engines understand the content of images, contributing to better indexing and search rankings.

3. Remember keyboard navigation: Not everyone can use a mouse, due to various reasons like motor skill challenges, physical disabilities, or even a temporary injury. Keyboard navigation allows users to jump from link to link, fill out forms, and navigate through your pages using simple keystrokes. When it comes to UX, websites built with keyboard navigation in mind tend to be more logically structured, making them easier to understand and use, even for those who typically rely on a mouse.

4. Choose ‘inclusive’ fonts and colors: Everyone perceives the world visually in their own unique way. While the human eye and brain are incredibly adept at recognizing shapes, patterns, and colors, a considerable number of individuals may find it challenging to differentiate certain hues or specific colors. While the common term is “color blindness,” a more accurate description is “color vision deficiency.” Opt for accessible fonts and colors for your funeral websites to make sure that people with visual impairments can use your site with ease. Not sure where to start? UserWay’s Contrast Checker will get you started.

5. Use closed captions: Using closed captions means that every online funeral attendee can be part of each anecdote shared, every song played, and every memory shared. For people with hearing impairments, including closed captions as part of your online memorial services is vital. This feature acts as a bridge so sound need not be a barrier.

6. Make WCAG your digital accessibility guide: These guidelines are your compass for all things ‘web accessibility’. These guidelines play a significant role in ADA compliance so following WCAG can help make your website and online memorials align with accessibility law too.

7. Use accessibility tools: As we mentioned, get to grips with the different accessibility tools on the market. Integrating accessibility tools such as screen readers, font size adjustment, and color contrast options into your website not only demonstrates a commitment to inclusivity but also significantly enhances the user experience for individuals with varying needs. These tools empower users by giving them the autonomy to tailor their digital environment to their preferences and requirements, so they can engage with content in a way that feels most natural to them.

How Tribute Technology added accessibility into funeral services

So what does website accessibility and compliance look like in action in the funeral industry?

At a recent webinar hosted by Tribute Technology, who serve over 9,000 funeral service providers with products such as online stores and online memorial service videos, 

UserWay’s COO Lionel Wolberger, an expert in web accessibility, shared insights into making websites more inclusive. He also reveals UserWay’s AI-powered Accessibility Widget, a tool that enhances website accessibility for the funeral industry, aligning with ADA and WCAG standards.

Lionel, has a rich background, including a PhD in anthropology, tech patents, and roles in influential groups like the W3C Accessible Platforms Working Group and the Forbes Technology Council, spotlighted the importance of digital accessibility. 

The webinar emphasized the major need for accessible websites in the funeral profession. Tribute Technology’s CMO (Courtney Gould Miller), highlighted the advantages of partnering with UserWay for website accessibility. Check the Tribute Technology and UserWay webinar out here.

UserWay: making online funerals inclusive

Grief touches everyone. It doesn’t discriminate. So, why should our funeral websites and online services be any different? 

Move your funeral websites into accessibility and compliance with UserWay’s popular Accessibility Widget, which makes over 1 million websites compliant with ADA standards and in alignment with WCAG guidelines. 

Join a community of digital accessibility advocates opening the digital doors of inclusivity for users with disabilities. Get started with a free demo today.


Why is the ADA important for my funeral website?

Ensuring your funeral website adheres to international accessibility standards is crucial for all organizations, regardless of size or industry. Many fail to comply with these standards, risking potential legal action. Making your site ADA-compliant not only broadens your audience but also protects your business.

Should I partner with an accessibility expert (or can I manage accessibility myself)?

While it’s possible to tackle accessibility on your own, many funeral businesses find they lack the time, resources or legal knowledge to do so effectively. Partnering with an accessibility expert offers a straightforward solution to enhance your site’s accessibility and reduce the risk of legal issues.

How easy is it to install the UserWay Accessibility Widget?

The UserWay Accessibility Widget boasts an effortless setup, requiring just a single click to install. Immediately after activation, it provides your users with over 80 accessibility features and AI-powered tools, ensuring a customized and accessible online experience.

What capabilities does the UserWay Accessibility Widget offer?

UserWay’s widget enriches your website with more than 80 accessibility functions, catering to users across more than 40 languages. This extensive range of features helps create a more inclusive and navigable website for everyone.