06. Jun 2024

Ensuring Accessibility in Software Development: A Comprehensive Guide

In today's digital age, ensuring that software and websites are accessible to everyone, including individuals with disabilities, is not just a legal obligation but a moral imperative. Accessibility in software development means creating digital products that can be used without difficulty or outside help by people with various disabilities. Here’s how to achieve this:
Software Engineer


Jaid Heesen

Hanna Algedri frontal in die Kamera blickend.


Hanna Algedri

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What Does ‘Barrier-Free’ or ‘Accessible’ Mean?

The term 'barrier-free' in the context of websites and applications refers to designs that are usable by people with disabilities. According to the Duden dictionary, it means that these digital products can be operated without difficulty by individuals with disabilities, such as by adjusting the font size.

Key Design Considerations

  1. Colour and Contrast

    Choose colours that are distinguishable for people with colour vision deficiencies. Ensure strong contrasts to make content easily readable.

  2. Typography

    Use clear, legible typefaces to aid readability for all users.

  3. Avoid Distracting Elements

    Refrain from using fast animations, abrupt feedback, or strong colour changes that could trigger epileptic seizures or create difficulties for users with cognitive impairments.

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Implementing Accessibility

  • Valid HTML:

    Ensure your HTML is semantically valid i.e. using HTML elements for their intended purpose as much as possible, as this promotes cross-browser functionality and helps screen readers correctly interpret and read out the content through built-in styling and keyboard accessibility. For example, we should use the HTML button element rather than a div tag which tries to do the same thing.

  • ARIA Labels:

    Use ARIA (Accessible Rich Internet Applications) labels only where necessary to define the role, state, and properties of UI elements. No ARIA is better than bad ARIA.

  • Alternative Texts:

    Provide alternative text for images and interactive elements so that they can be recognized and described by screen readers.

Testing for Accessibility

Once the elements are developed, thorough testing is essential:

  1. Automated Tools:

    Use tools that can test accessibility semi-automatically, checking for common issues like color contrast and keyboard navigation.

  2. Developer Tools:

    Utilize browser developer tools to verify the tab sequence and ensure that all interactive elements are accessible without a mouse.

  3. Screen Reader Compatibility:
  4. Make sure all relevant elements are recognized and correctly read by the most commonly used screen readers, including NVDA and JAWs. Also, ensure that the tab sequence includes all interactive elements.
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Examples of testing tools in use

(Axe-DevTools and WAVE)

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Examples of testing tools in use


Accessibility in software development is essential to ensure that all people, regardless of their individual limitations, have access to digital products. Through conscious design choices, the use of valid HTML and ARIA labels, and thorough testing, we can develop software that is truly inclusive. By integrating these practices into the development process, we not only comply with legal standards but also contribute to a more inclusive digital world where everyone can participate equally.