Design for everyone, universal accessibility

May 16, 2024


At Pixeled Eggs, we believe good design is accessible design. It’s inherent in all the websites we create. In this blog, we share why it matters, the considerations of accessible design and practical tips for putting accessibility into action for your website.

What is accessibility:

Typically, when we talk about accessible design, people reference disabilities. In the UK, 16 million people are disabled. That’s the equivalent of one in four people and 23% of the working-age population. Your website users will have various accessibility requirements, including visual, auditory, motor, cognitive, and neurodiverse needs. If you don’t factor in these needs, you are effectively excluding over 25% of the population from being able to engage with your website!

Several acts, such as the Equality Act, The Public Sector Bodies Accessibility Regulations and the upcoming European Accessibility Act, make it a requirement more than a consideration for brands. However, accessible design is about more than just compliance, it’s about creating an environment where everyone can access information and services without barriers. By prioritising accessibility, organisations demonstrate their commitment to inclusivity and equality, fostering positive brand perception and loyalty.

When it comes to websites, we consume content in different ways and situations; accessible design makes sure ‘people and place’ are at the heart of the thinking, making things inherently easy to use. For example, on mobile devices, being able to read content in poor connection settings when images fail to download,or ageing populations, with 45% of pension-age people having a disability.

When we design with accessibility in mind, we create better experiences for everyone. We often use the OXO potato peeler as an example of this: a swivel peeler designed initially for people with arthritis. Its design naturally makes it easier and more enjoyable for everyone to use, and it has become the most common potato peeler out there.

The specifics of accessible design:

Accessibility is not a one-size-fits-all concept. Users have various accessibility needs, including visual, auditory, motor, and cognitive needs.

The different types of accessibility explained:

  • Visual accessibility focuses on making content and interfaces usable for individuals with visual impairments or limitations. This includes considerations such as providing alternative text for images, ensuring sufficient colour contrast for readability, and supporting screen reader compatibility.
  • Auditory accessibility aims to accommodate a range of levels of auditory impairment, such as those of users who are deaf or hard of hearing. It involves providing captions and transcripts for audio and video content, visual cues and alternatives for auditory information.
  • Motor accessibility addresses the needs of people with mobility impairments, such as limited dexterity or mobility. Design considerations include providing keyboard navigation options, minimising reliance on precise mouse movements, and ensuring that interactive elements are easily clickable or tappable.
  • Cognitive accessibility focuses on making content understandable and navigable for people with cognitive needs such as autism or learning difficulties such as dyslexia. This may involve simplifying language and layout, providing clear instructions and cues, and minimising distractions or cognitive overload.

Considering individual needs

When we visited the Google Accessibility Discovery Centre in Kings Cross, Christopher Patnoe, Head of Accessibility and Disability Inclusion EMEA at Google, highlighted that, in reality, everyone will experience accessibility needs at some point in their lives.

  • Situational needs arise when individuals encounter temporary barriers due to specific circumstances or environments. These barriers may include noisy surroundings, poor lighting conditions, or distractions that affect their ability to perceive or interact with digital content. For example, someone using a mobile device in a crowded, noisy environment may have difficulty hearing audio cues or reading small text on the screen.
  • Temporary needs refer to those that arise for a limited duration due to injury, illness, or other temporary conditions. These could include recovering from a broken arm, undergoing temporary vision impairment after eye surgery, or experiencing temporary hearing loss due to an ear infection. If you visit Old Street station, the green line outside the underground station, if followed, takes you to Moorfields Eye Hospital.
  • Permanent needs are accessibility requirements that individuals have due to long-term disabilities or impairments unlikely to change significantly over time. These disabilities may include visual, auditory, motor, cognitive, or neurodiverse conditions that impact how individuals perceive, navigate, and interact with digital content.

Consider inclusive design

As a society, we’re emphasising and better-understanding equality, diversity, and inclusion. Our audiences are more and more aware of social responsibility, and so our content must be inclusive as well as accessible. Accessible design primarily focuses on accommodating the needs of individuals with impairments or needs to ensure equal access and usability. Inclusive design takes a broader approach, considering the diversity of human experiences and abilities to create welcoming, flexible, and inclusive solutions for everyone, regardless of age, gender, ethnicity, or abilities. For inclusive design, consider your imagery, language and audience representation. Being inclusive in this way and accessible creates a better brand position and a more welcoming experience for everyone and results in higher engagement rates. For example, when using inclusive design with imagery, ensure it is proportionate to the people your organisation represents.

Universal design

With so many considerations and varying accessibility needs, unfortunately, we can never be perfectly accessible, we can, however, be more accessible. By meeting accessibility standards such as Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG), we can support as many people as possible. consider the severity of the needs you are designing for alongside user flows and primary users. Understanding your target audience and the proportion of their needs for accessibility.

In reality, accessible design principles create a better design for more than disabilities. The principles of clarity, simplicity, and usability enhance the overall user experience. In addition, the focus helps us better understand our users, considering insights, user research, and testing to ensure usability and diverse perspectives are understood and not assumed.

The concept of universal design emphasises the importance of creating with empathy and considering the diverse needs of all users. This is essential for creating inclusive and welcoming experiences. Designing products and services usable by as many people as possible ensures no one is left behind.

Putting accessibility into action

  • Meet WCAG standards: Ensure that you meet accessibility standards and guidelines, such as WCAG, to make them usable by individuals. Consider accessibility policies and processes. At Pixeled Eggs, our processes and framework have accessibility baked in. We recommend aiming for a minimum level of WCAG AA compliance. We also have an internal 43-point checklist that follows WCAG’s guidelines on accessibility and is based on the Government’s Digital Accessibility Standards for Public Sector websites.
  • Audit your accessibility adherence: Many free tools, such as Google Lighthouse, can help scan and audit your website and its performance against accessibility. In addition, we’d be happy to support you with an audit and recommendations for accessibility and improvements for your website and brand. Just drop us a message at
  • Research and understand your audience: Research and understand your audience, including individuals with disabilities, diverse cultural backgrounds, technology access, and proficiency. Integrate accessibility considerations into every stage of the design process to ensure their needs are met.
  • Adapt your brand design: Speak with your design teams about meeting WCAG guidelines and an international standard to follow, with AA or AAA specifications and considerations. This provides guidance on how to incorporate accessibility into your brand. From how your website is set up and coded, font choices, colour contrast, image choices and formatting, video usage, copy and language. Don’t just keep it to just your website, apply it to social media and other platforms.

Finally, we touched on the varying levels of need, we couldn’t cover it all in one blog, but we’ll be posting more content and examples of how we’ve incorporated inclusive and accessible website design into our projects. Of course, if you’d like to chat in advance and learn more about these stories, just email us at