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Reader question: How do I know which accessibility issues matter most?

2 minutes read

Andrea asked:

I'm stuck. We scanned our website and we have quite a few errors. It's just too much and we don't have that much time for accessibility. Can you explain how I can focus on the accessibility issues that matter most?

Happy to!

First off, Andrea, we've all been there, and it's okay to feel a bit overwhelmed.

Usually, when you're just starting with accessibility, you'll likely run an automated checker on your site as a first step. You're trying to convince yourself you did a good enough job and you might be in the clear. But it will spit out a bunch of errors and warnings. It's likely that number is rather large and frightening. Like Andrea's.

Or, even worse, you're looking at a large audit in the form of a PDF report spanning tens or hundreds of pages.

So now you have to sift through it all and figure out where to start. Here are two suggestions for you:

1. Critical issues or Level A come first

Look at the results of your scan and fix the critical issues. These issues will prevent users with disabilities from even accessing your content. Some common critical issues I've seen:

  • Missing form labels
  • Missing alt text for images
  • Wonky ARIA roles or values

Prioritise working through these as soon as possible. Then move on to Level AA and serious issues.

2. Look at your backlog

Your backlog is pure gold. Just look at what you already know. The scan is great, but nothing beats user feedback. Listen to those using your site with assistive tech; they're giving you the playbook.

People relying on assistive technologies are literally telling you what frustrates them and why they can't get anything done on your site. Fixing those should take priority over any automated scan tool.

Instead of getting bogged down, focus on some low-hanging fruits. Small wins add up, trust me. Every time you run that tool or look at your backlog, you should see less and less issues.

Hope this helps!

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