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Common accessibility problems: Part 2

Maarten Hoogvliet
Maarten Hoogvliet
Laptop with settings

Many websites and apps are difficult or not usable at all for people with disabilities for various reasons. In some cases this even applies to people without a disability. In a world that is rapidly digitizing, it is essential that we do something about this.

The good news: the European Accessibility Act (EAA) will come into effect on June 28, 2025. This will mean that (digital) service providers throughout Europe are obliged to make websites and other digital products easily and easily accessible to everyone. In practice, this means that they must meet the requirements of WCAG. June 2025 seems far away, but testing and improving the accessibility of your digital product can take a lot of time. It is therefore wise to take action and see now which aspects you can improve.

To make this more tangible, I write in three parts about common practical accessibility points of interest.

Assumption 2: “Our testing department has extensively tested the site and the app”

Testing is one of the most important tasks when developing a digital product. And your design department or agency has told you that your site or app has been thoroughly tested, right? However, no priority is often given to usability testing with people with disabilities, such as people with low literacy. Tests that focus on usability for the largest customer group, the non-disabled, therefore do not provide a complete picture of functionality and usability. In short, also test specifically for good accessibility.

Testing with these target groups reveals the real obstacles, the obstacles that the design team has not yet taken into account. Does your product also work for someone who depends on a screen reader? Are the texts understandable enough and are the images provided with alternative text? Only by extensively testing with users with disabilities can you create an inclusive digital experience for everyone, regardless of their capabilities.

Some examples of common problems:

  • The structure on the page looks good at first glance, but the underlying order in the code is incorrect. This results in a screen reader reading your web page incorrectly, which causes a lot of confusion for a visually impaired user.
  • A link opens another browser or app and the user does not notice it. The page has become unresponsive and it is unclear what action to take.
  • Buttons are not properly recognized by a screen reader, making it unclear to a visually impaired user how to proceed.
  • Websites or applications do not scale well with different screen sizes, causing jumps in the content.

The solution

Conduct tests with people from all conceivable target groups. Consider, for example, people with low literacy or visual impairment. Make sure you can test in their own environment: the situation in which they will use the site or app in practice. Imitating reality is important so that the test corresponds as closely as possible to reality. So also consider the right device, the right browser and including the third party apps such as browser extensions that the user uses. In addition, test with the relevant assistive technologies such as screen readers, braille displays and speech recognition software.

This blog gives some brief examples. If you are not yet familiar with the subject of accessibility, I can tell you much more about it. I will discuss common accessibility issues one more time soon!

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