Website accessibility is a big area of discussion at the moment. It’s a vague and complicated world of good intentions versus what is practical and possible to achieve – it is a vast topic and it’s easy to get lost.

This article gives an overview of website accessibility, a view on how it’s measured and shows how Fresh01 and Freshstart have worked towards this in the past and what we are doing currently to enhance websites. By reading this article technical and non-technical readers alike should have a much firmer understanding of what this topic is and how we can all help.

Are there website guidelines on accessibility?

The short answer is yes. The W3C, they are responsible for web standards, developed the ‘Web Content Accessibility Guidelines’ which is currently in its second version; more often than not this is abbreviated to WCAG 2.0 or just WCAG.

The WCAG standards in a nutshell

Without going into each point in the guidelines they roughly break down to the following key areas:


  • Provide text alternatives for non-text content
  • Provide captions and other alternatives for multimedia
  • Create content that can be presented in different ways, including by assistive technologies, without losing meaning
  • Make it easier for users to see and hear content


  • Make all functionality available from a keyboard
  • Give users enough time to read and use content
  • Do not use content that causes seizures
  • Help users navigate and find content


  • Make text readable and understandable
  • Make content appear and operate in predictable ways
  • Help users avoid and correct mistakes


• Maximize compatibility with current and future user tools

How are the WCAG standards measured?

Now this is where it get complicated, convoluted and subjective.

The full guidelines are here: and each point (1.1, 1.2, 1.3) has several sub points (1.2.1, 1.2.2, 1.2.3).

Each one of these sub points has a testing criteria and each criteria has its own test in order to achieve ‘sufficient’, ‘advisory’ or ‘failure’. If you have a quick look at the site and open a few areas and you should see the typical structure.

If you pass a sub point it is ranked as either level A, AA, or AAA – with AAA being the top.

Each sub point is a different level and to be level AAA for a single point (1.1 for example) you have to pass each sub point with the testing criteria to ‘sufficient’.

If you fail one point (regardless of level) the maximum you can achieve is level AA. If you fail one level AA, the maximum you can achieve is level A. Even if you pass every level AAA, if you achieve lower than ‘advisory’ on a single AA point, the maximum is still level A.

Obviously AAA requires a lot of effort. Where it is quite difficult to achieve this standard is on points like:

3.1.5, “Provide a text summary that can be understood by people with lower secondary education level reading ability.”

My website’s not accessible, what do I do?

Everything is subjective and no single person can say if a site is ‘accessible’. You realistically need to conduct tests over many months with many users with different difficulties. Also as content is part of the guidelines you’ll need to review each new page or even blog post once it’s published.

A lot of the guidelines are common sense. As Fresh01 is expert in website design, certain accessibility guidelines, such as not putting black text on a black backgrounds, making sure buttons do what they should – you get the gist – are naturally considered and would not be in any website produced by Fresh01. In addition to this WordPress itself is designed to be AA standard as a CMS, Fresh01 use WordPress for all our websites and having this as a back bone is great. Read more on WordPress’s Accessibility here: .

If your worried about your site and feel like it might be hard to use, get in touch! We can arrange a consultation where we can review and suggest how to move forwards together. It could be that your colours need a higher contrast, you might need just a few updates or if you really feel like it a whole re-build – We can help with whatever your needs are, Get in touch.

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Does the ‘back office’ of my site need to be accessible?

This might not be directly considered when talking about the WCAG, but WordPress as a CMS (content management system) is rated as level AA out of the box. If you are considering a new web project, WordPress is a great platform to allow people with access issues to contribute to your site’s content.

To sum up

Accessibility in websites relies on many factors and is subjective. There is no reason why the WCAG can not be considered while building your website and there is no reason why this should hinder what you can create. Its all about making reasonable efforts to help all users and making sure they get the content they need.

If you feel your website is struggling to achieve the guidelines, get in contact with Fresh01 to discuss options and for us advise on what you should do next.

Links for further reading:

Web Accessibility Explained

W3C Web Accessibility Initiative (WAI)

Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0

Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) Overview

Web Content Accessibility Guidelines – Wikipedia

How to Meet WCAG 2 (Quick Reference)