Skip to main content
A vision board for digital accessibility planning, app and website building plans.

The future of UX is digital accessibility 

A decade ago, ensuring the needs of people with disabilities wasn’t a priority. Now brands are competing for this outsized consumer segment of 1.85 billion people with $1.9 trillion in annual disposable income.

Digital  is an increasingly important resource in many aspects of life – from education and employment to ecommerce and health care – and it’s essential that it be accessible in order to provide equal access and opportunity to people with diverse abilities.

The future of UX is digital accessibility. Are your user experiences ready?

Enhancing Digital Experiences for All Users

Millions of people rely on quickly and easily accessing information and performing daily tasks on the internet. But users living with disabilities face increased barriers to accessing the same information because the typical design of websites, videos, podcasts, and mobile apps do not perform as needed on their devices.

More than 25% of adults in the United States live with some type of disability. It’s critical to ensure that all aspects of a digital experience are designed with full accessibility and these users in mind.

Adopting an adaptive strategy makes digital content accessible to people who utilize assistive technology and can diminish obstacles presented by poorly designed websites and other web applications. In fact, designing for accessibility benefits all users, both with and without disabilities, and helps the business engage with users in a more meaningful way.

Inclusive Design

Website users are not one size fits all. People interact with your digital experiences differently. For example, some may use a specialized braille keyboard to access content, and other web users would not. And almost everyone will use help text from time to time.

That’s why it’s important to make user experiences inclusive – a design process in which the needs of people with different abilities are specifically considered. Further, UX designers, content authors, and developers must consider how different environments and circumstances can affect a web user and remove those barriers.

Interactive Media

Interactive media, such as videos, changed how companies engage with audiences. However, it also poses new challenges when it is not accessible to all web users. Examples of accessible features include closed captions and transcripts for both prerecorded and live audio and video content. Older and younger web users tend to use these features as well.

Personas & User Stories

The opportunities to design for accessibility must consider how your target audiences will use your application or website and with what technologies, languages, abilities, and even in what location. To understand how your users will experience a website, begin by defining user stories and personas. These user research practices help designers look objectively at possible problems and solutions from the perspective of a set of users.

Principles of Web Accessibility

To create a truly accessible experience, designers and developers should adhere to the four principles of the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) enacted by the World Wide Web Consortium: Perceivable, Operable, Understandable, and Robust (POUR). These guidelines are the foundation of inclusive digital experiences.

Shift Left Design Process

Whether you’re starting from scratch or fixing the accessibility of your digital properties, start with a plan. In that plan is a shift left product development process to get you from requirements to quality assurance and production. In a nutshell, you must conduct user research, define your requirements, design for diversity, and put it into practice from the start, not as an afterthought.

Standards & Tools

The World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) provides standards and guidelines on how to create accessible user experiences. However, even if you bake in these standards while designing your digital properties, it’s not a one-and-done practice. You must maintain your accessibility day in and day out – and there are tools to help you do so!

Program Development

Accessibility remediation is not a one-off project. Accessibility should be part of all design processes and integrated into your design program from the beginning.


More and more countries are making digital accessibility a requirement, and the U.S. isn’t far behind. The Department of Justice (DOJ) urges all organizations to make their websites accessible, especially businesses open to the public.

More Accessibility Insights

Want to learn more? Here are additional resources from Perficient.

Contact Us 

Lisa McMichael, Senior Manager, Digital Accessibility 

Phil Fortier, Director, U.S. Consulting