Improving Website Accessibility and Inclusivity for All Users

Designing a website that is accessible and inclusive for everyone requires careful attention to readability, language use, and design. Web designers must create choices that enable, rather than disable, users. Content quality alone is not enough; the layout, font selection, and image handling can create barriers for many users. Inclusive design requires a focus on structure, language, and format to ensure that all audience members are included.

Understanding your audience is the first step toward effective content design. Who is your audience, and where are they located? What do they think about the range of subjects covered by your content? Do they feel represented? Conducting research is necessary to answer these questions.

Measures to make a website accessible and inclusive should not end once physical disabilities are accommodated with devices. While screen readers are invaluable for users with vision impairments, people with learning disabilities, and other neurodivergent users may also be excluded. The principles that lead to inclusive, accessible, and usable content for those with accessibility concerns apply to everyone.

Below are some principles and suggestions to consider when building or revamping websites and digital content to ensure inclusivity:


Headings allow all users to connect with your content more easily. Clear, descriptive headings that allow visual or audible scanning benefit everyone. Headings serve as a narrative, letting users easily understand your content. Correct HTML tagging of headers can also improve your search engine optimization because tags allow robots to index your pages.

Handling images and video

If your site includes images, use alternative text and complementary content. These written descriptions communicate the image's meaning (graphs and charts in particular) if it cannot be accessed because it does not load or the user is visually impaired. The complementary description gives details related to the image and enriches users’ experience, sighted or not. For video inclusivity, use captions and transcripts. This helps those with impaired hearing and allows all users who can read to access the content.

Language and readability

Use respectful, positive, enabling language and avoid presenting people with physical, intellectual, or mental health challenges as victims. Know the correct terminology for the individuals and groups that comprise Canada’s diverse population.

Jargon and idioms

Avoid using jargon and idioms, as they exclude people who are not “in the know,” including anyone unfamiliar with the terms and/or those for whom English or French is a second or third language.

Grammar choices

Avoid abbreviations or acronyms, or explain them at your first use. Use numerals consistently for numbers rather than jumping back and forth between numbers and words. Avoid negative contractions and spell out the words for maximum accessibility.

Clear, simple writing

Simple sentences are easier to scan and understand, thus helping the cognitively and visually impaired and everyone else take in information more quickly and efficiently.

American Sign Language (ASL) and other languages

In the case of ASL, complex writing presents barriers to understanding. The same applies to languages other than French and English; people may find complex sentence structures challenging to decipher.

Design – Space, Colour, and Fonts


Page-long chunks of prose may be full of brilliant ideas, but many people won’t read them. The same content laid out with plenty of white space appears to be simpler and easier to understand. Using headings to organize the content and tell your story, shorter sentences, and shapes, like bulleted lists and deliberate variations in line lengths, make your content more easily accessible for the visually impaired and everyone else.


Using colour to convey meaning without a written explanation risks communication failure. Charts and graphs must have clear legends and/or keys to read independently of any colour-related communication.


Your chosen font is not fixed. Internet browsers allow people to change fonts and font sizes as they wish. Confusion may ensue if your content is in a fixed font, and it doesn't work for some users. A serif font (with "tails") may look more formal, but sans-serif (without "tails") is easier to read on screens. A high-contrast ratio between text and background ensures readability for those with visual impairments.

Consideration of font size and line length also matters. The ability to read text is linked to the reading speed, and reading speed is linked to comprehension. Larger font sizes may slow down your reading speed. Therefore, the right balance is essential.


Inclusivity and accessibility considerations are essential to ensure that all users can access your content. While some measures are necessary for those with disabilities, creating accessible, inclusive, and usable content benefits everyone. The key to successful content design is to start with research, understand your audience and what they need, and then incorporate inclusive design principles such as appropriate headings, clear images, captions and transcripts for videos, simple language and writing, space, colour, and fonts.

By following these principles, you can create digital content that is easily accessible to everyone and meets the needs of diverse audiences. Taking an inclusive approach to content design will make your website or app more user-friendly and ensure that everyone, regardless of their abilities or disabilities, can access your content. Moreover, incorporating these principles can also help improve your search engine optimization, making it easier for users to find your website or app