Accessibility: common challenges and solutions

What is accessibility?

Accessibility for digital product design means creating interfaces that are accessible, understandable, and usable by your users regardless of their abilities or disabilities.

The goal is to ensure that we are not creating a product that alienates a portion of your potential user base, but rather, we consider all potential users. In doing so, we make our products more robust, usable and appealing to a larger group.

The goal with accessibility in digital product design is to design for all your users

Take this physical product by L’Oréal as an example of a standard we should all be reaching for, L’Oréal has created an innovative solution to enable those who struggle day-to-day with lipstick application, something which a lot of people take for granted. The goal of this article is to add to the growing awareness of inclusive design and champion its cause.

Common accessibility challenges and solutions

A lack of awareness

A lack of knowledge about the latest accessibility needs and standards


  • Running frequent training sessions to educate your team
  • Raising awareness through peer-to-peer reviews
  • Build accessibility checklists directly into your workflow

User testing

Testing for accessibility can get neglected, leading to problems further down the line


  • Involve users with diverse problems at the start of the projects to gather real-world feedback
  • Implement automated testing tools such as the WAVE web extension

UI complexity

Complex design interfaces and subtle interactions can be challenging for some users


  • Simplify your designs, consider subtleties
  • Use clear, consistent and defined UX patterns
  • Provide users with ways of customising your product

Colour contrast

Not adhering to the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) regarding colour


  • Using your design tools to ensure text has enough contrast against it’s background
  • Use accessible colour combinations such as those found on this accessible colour pallet generator

Keyboard navigation

Some users use keyboards to navigate your product rather than the traditional mouse


  • Allow all interactive elements to be accessible using your keyboard
  • Test the order of the page, does it make sense logically
  • Sufficient focus indicators showing the user where they are

Accessibility tools and resources

WAVE Accessibility Tool “Wave provides visual feedback about the accessibility of your web content”

Siteimprove Accessibility Checker “Assess the accessibility of your web pages conveniently in Google Chrome with the Siteimprove Accessibility Checker.”

axe DevTools “This powerful and accurate toolkit can get you to 80% accessibility issue coverage, or more, during development.”

Coolors – “Calculate the contrast ratio of text and background colours”

What is Web Content Accessibility Guide (WCAG) – ”Everyone should be able to access and enjoy the web.”

Nielson Norman Group – ”Accessibility Articles & Videos”


The goal of accessibility in digital product design is to make sure that all users have equal footing when dealing with your product, crafting interfaces that take on these challenges and allow all users to go about their day with ease. Making products accessible can be a challenge, but by integrating in into your workflow, making sure everyone is up-to-date with the latest accessibility standards, consistent review cycle and accessibility checklists can address the issues surrounding awareness.

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