How To Perform A Website Accessibility Audit ‍

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Website accessibility is no longer a ‘nice-to-have’ feature, but a vital element of website development and management. Ensuring your website is accessible to everyone, including those with disabilities, is a social responsibility and can also significantly boost the reach and usability of your website. To ensure your website meets the necessary accessibility standards, conducting a website accessibility audit is crucial.

This comprehensive guide will walk you through the process of conducting a website accessibility audit, the types of audits you can perform, and how to make the most of the findings from these audits.

Understanding the Importance of Website Accessibility

It is estimated that 1 in 5 individuals in the UK have some form of disability. If your website isn’t accessible to this significant portion of the population, you are potentially losing out on a considerable customer base.

Furthermore, making your website accessible can have broader benefits. Improving accessibility makes the site easier to use for all your users. Often, users with disabilities magnify issues that all users are likely to experience.

Lastly, organisations demonstrating a commitment to meeting the needs of users with disabilities are likely to reap the benefits of being seen as corporately and socially responsible.

How To Perform A Website Accessibility Audit ‍

What is a Website Accessibility Audit?

A website accessibility audit assesses your website to ensure it is accessible to all users, including those with disabilities. It checks your website against various accessibility guidelines, such as the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG), to identify any issues that may prevent users from fully accessing and using your website.

Types of Website Accessibility Audits

There are three main types of website accessibility audits: automated, manual, and user testing with disabled people. Each type has its strengths and limitations, and they often complement each other to comprehensively evaluate your website’s accessibility.

Automated Accessibility Audits

Automated accessibility audits use software or web-based tools to analyse your website. These tools can quickly highlight technical issues with your website that may affect how a disabled person can use it.

While automated audits are quick, inexpensive, and simple to carry out, they only provide a basic analysis of your website’s accessibility. They cannot assess usability from a human perspective, which is a crucial aspect of accessibility.

Manual Accessibility Audits

Manual accessibility audits involve a human expert manually reviewing your website against accessibility guidelines. These audits are often more thorough and reliable than automated audits as they can assess usability and context, which automated tools cannot.

However, manual audits are more time-consuming and costly than automated audits. The quality of the audit will also depend on the expertise and experience of the auditor.

User Testing With Disabled People

User testing involves having people with a range of disabilities use and provide feedback on your website. This type of audit is the most effective way to understand the real-world accessibility of your website.

User testing with disabled people is the most comprehensive audit form but also the most time-consuming and expensive. However, the insights gained from this type of audit can significantly improve the usability and accessibility of your website.

Planning Your Accessibility Audit

Before starting your accessibility audit, it’s essential to plan what parts of your website you want to focus on. Here are some factors to consider:

Identify Key Pages and User Journeys

Identifying a representative sample of pages and user journeys on your website is crucial for a comprehensive audit. These should include:

  • High-traffic pages like your homepage
  • Different types of content pages (text-based, multimedia, interactive tools, etc.)
  • Pages with unique or complex functionality
  • Key user journeys

Choose Your Audit Type

Based on your needs, budget, and resources, decide which type of audit(s) will be most beneficial for your website. You may use a combination of automated, manual, and user testing audits for a thorough evaluation.

Select an Accessibility Standard

Choose an accessibility standard against which to benchmark your website. The most widely accepted standard is the WCAG 2.1 at AA level.

Determine Your Timeline

Plan your timeline for the audit and subsequent changes to your website. Ensure you leave enough time to implement the changes and re-audit your website to confirm the improvements.

How to Conduct an Accessibility Audit

Here is a step-by-step guide on how to carry out an accessibility audit:

Step 1: Select Your Pages/User Journeys

Start by selecting a representative sample of pages and user journeys on your website for the audit. Ensure these pages cover all the different templates and functionalities of your website.

Step 2: Conduct the Audit

Based on your choice of audit type, conduct the audit of your selected pages/user journeys. If you are conducting a manual audit or user testing, ensure the auditor/testers are provided with all necessary information and access to carry out the audit.

Step 3: Analyse the Findings

Once the audit is completed, analyse the findings to identify the issues affecting your website’s accessibility. Prioritise the issues based on their impact on usability and your resources.

Step 4: Implement Changes

Implement the necessary changes to your website to address the identified issues. Ensure your changes are tested and validated to confirm they have improved accessibility.

Step 5: Re-Audit Your Website

Re-audit your website after implementing the changes to confirm all issues have been addressed, and your website now meets the chosen accessibility standard.

Choosing a Supplier for Your Accessibility Audit

If you decide to outsource your accessibility audit, selecting the right supplier, like Hex Productions, is crucial. Here are some factors to consider when choosing a supplier:

  • Experience: Ensure the supplier has extensive experience in conducting accessibility audits, preferably of similar websites or services.
  • Quality of Reports: The supplier should provide clear and actionable reports. Ask for sample reports to assess their quality.
  • Support: Check if the supplier offers support in fixing the identified issues and in maintaining accessibility in the future.
  • Involvement in the Accessibility Community: Suppliers involved in the wider accessibility community through activities like blogging, training, and contributing to standards are often more up-to-date with the latest best practices.
  • After the Accessibility Audit

Once the audit is complete, the real work begins. Here’s what you should do after the audit:

Prioritise and fix the issues identified in the audit. This step is crucial to improving your website’s accessibility.

After addressing the issues, re-audit your website to confirm the changes have indeed improved accessibility.

Remember, accessibility is not a one-time task. It needs continuous monitoring and improvements. Regularly conduct accessibility audits and user testing to ensure your website remains accessible.


Conducting a website accessibility audit can seem daunting, but with proper planning and resources, it’s an achievable task. Remember, website accessibility is not just beneficial for users with disabilities; it improves usability for all users and can significantly enhance your website’s reach and performance.



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