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Currently working for a client who had a very vague, generic accessibility statement on the site, until a couple of months ago when the site was redesigned and the statement was left out of the IA.

They are now looking to reintroduce it, albeit updated to encompass the standards the site now adheres to.

I'm torn though. On the one hand I can see that they support transparency and accountability, but on the other, I've never seen a user actually read them (given that I've carried out testing with users with specific disabilities - mobility and visual impairment). Could it just add noise to a site already teetering on "cluttered"?

Do you think accessibility statements are still worth having on websites?

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6 Answers 6

They're worth having if the statements are true, the IA can accommodate, the target audience would care, and resources permit. It absolutely depends on the case.

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I think they are worth having -- accountability and transparency among the reasons. In some cases they may be required and are tied to accessibility compliance. As for reducing the noise, place it somewhere less critical visually (e.g. a footer), those who need it will find it.

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WCAG enables sites to include "Conformance claims" which outlines the technologies which are used and/or not relied on, and other aspects of the site users might want to be aware of. Many government websites will be required to show this kind of information. –  Nathan-W May 17 '10 at 2:56

Accessibility is good. Legalistic, dense statements are bad. Have a simple statement and it will be good. (Less than 250 words)

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Depends what's on it.

I'd agree a vague, generic accessibility statement isn't really worth it.

A direct strong statement, along with some targeted instructions on doing things like text resizing in common browsers, along with a contact form for those who are having problems on the other hand.... that might be worth doing :-)

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A while back we recently did some accessibility testing with the Shaw Trust (http://www.shaw-trust.org.uk) and the feedback from there was that accessibility statements were not worth having for the following reasons:

  • More often than not they become out of date which just reflects badly on your site;

  • Just because a user struggles with accessibility doesn't mean they will approach using the site differently than anyone else. If they can't use it they will leave, time is valuable and the consensus was that they don't want to read the equivalent of an instruction manual on how to use the site;

  • They are often added as a feel good factor for the designer/company and actually offer little value to those they are aimed at (the majority confessed to never reading them);

  • A site is accessible or not - this will become apparent as someone tries to use it. Who cares what some statement says.

Of course this is just one view (although it was from people who accessibility statements are traditionally aimed at and after hearing the comments first hand it's a view I now also share)

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I like to have a section "Accessibilty" on the Imprint/Contact page. It contains a short conformance claim (↓ see below) and a special email address exclusively used for accessibilty topics. I encourage visitors to report any accessibilty problems they stumble over, and I offer help if visitors have problems to access certain parts/contents.

Thanks to such a claim, vistors see that you show interest in accessibilty. If they notice an accessibilty problem, I guess they are more likely to report it. If such a statement would miss, they might think "It's just a typical site not paying any attention to accessibilty" and move on. An accessibilty statement emphasizes responsibility.


For WCAG 2.0, it's optional to claim conformance. But if you have a claim, it must contain:

  • date of the claim
  • a link to the used specification (link to the dated version), with title and version number
  • which conformance level is satisfied (A, AA or AAA)
  • a list/description of pages for which the claim is made
  • a list of technologies (HTML, CSS, JS, PDF, Flash, …) which the visitors are required to support/have enabled

Additionally, there are optional (recommended) components.

If your site hosts user-submitted content (that gets published after you checked for satisfied WCAG rules), have a look at Statement of Partial Conformance - Third Party Content.

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