Is my site accessible? | npENGAGE

Is my site accessible?

By on Jun 18, 2009


Chances are, you already know how important it is to have an accessible web site. I’ll spare you a lecture on that subject here by reminding you that your site should, most definitely, be accessible.

So, how do you know if it is? Is it enough to have alt tags on your images? Do you have to install a screen reader to test and see? I attended an awesome session on accessibility at the UPA conference and the folks over at Fidelity Investments shared some great questions to use to test out your site:

  1. Can you navigate your site using just your keyboard? (Hint: use the TAB key)
  2. Is all graphic and audio/visual content also represented in text somehow? Is that text an equivalent substitute?
  3. Is your information architecture, or hierarchy, represented in the code? So, if I see something as a heading, is it also represented that way in the code?
  4. Is your content all flexible, scalable and legible for various browsers, font size settings and screen resolutions? Test out a few different options to see.
  5. Will the content read in the correct order? If you disable CSS, can you still make sense of the order of what you’re reading? (Note: This is also known as separating content from design)
  6. Have all the form fields and buttons or controls been labeled properly?

These questions are a great starting point or quick-test to see if you have some issues to address. Working toward an accessible site from an exisiting site can take a great deal of time. If you’re redesigning, remember to keep accessibility at the forefront so you can avoid retroactive changes to make your site accessible. Can you think of any other considerations for accessibility? Feel free to add in the comments.


Lacey Kruger, principal information architect for Blackbaud, designs online properties for nonprofits that delight and inspire. Whether a full scale website, a campaign site or a peer to peer fundraising site, Lacey guides clients through a research-based and user-centered approach to design. In her 15+ years at Blackbaud, she has developed a deep understanding of nonprofit web presences. That knowledge, along with her years of experience in information design, have established her as an industry expert.

Lacey has written a Blackbaud eBook, “A Guide to the Nonprofit Web Design Process” and her article, “Designing Nonprofit Experiences: Building a UX Toolkit” was published in User Experience magazine. She has presented at industry conferences including bbcon, IA Summit and BIG Design.

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