I'm trying to find a scholarly article which demonstrates a link between a website's accessibility and an increase in user experience.

Google only returns 1 result for +accessibility +website +"user experience", which is a LinkedIn profile.

Google Scholar returns more results, but without making a clear link between an accessible website and user experience. I read all of the first four results, the rest look not relevant.

The W3.org website, has something interesting to say, but without citing a scholarly article, which is what I need to be able to reference.

Accessibility also benefits people without disabilities. The Web Accessibility Perspectives video shows examples of how accessibility is essential for people with disabilities and useful for everyone in a variety of situations.

There is also a strong business case for accessibility. Accessibility overlaps with other best practices such as mobile web design, device independence, multi-modal interaction, usability, design for older users, and search engine optimization (SEO). Case studies show that accessible websites have better search results, reduced maintenance costs, and increased audience reach, among other benefits. Developing a Web Accessibility Business Case for Your Organization details the benefits of web accessibility.

Am I barking up the wrong tree? Is there no link between a website's accessibility and an increase in user experience?

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    You will probably find you will end up either paying or approaching the authors directly (as authors don't tend to get paid for when you purchase a publication anyway so they are normally happy to send it to you free) for an article like this. The problem is that you will probably find that not many scholarly articles exist as most would be case studies done by companies. Searching without "website" (as the concepts are pretty universal) this article may be close to what you want. Commented Nov 19, 2020 at 10:00
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    Have you considered searching universal design with user experience? I should clarify that universal design is for everyone, and not restricted to particular groups of users.
    – Eric Chia
    Commented Nov 19, 2020 at 10:03
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    You should know that accessibility is letting users have the possibility to experience something in the first place. If low contrast prevents a user to interact with or consume something, it is not possible to measure any user experience. When the low contrast doesn't prevent a user from using it, it is accessible but may deliver a bad user experience.
    – jazZRo
    Commented Nov 19, 2020 at 10:50
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    While I strongly approve of gathering academic research on this topic, The important thing in UX is not quantity, but quality. I suspect this is merely a problem with the way the question is worded. I humbly suggest that the OP could replace the word "increase" with words like "improve" and "improvement". Commented Nov 26, 2020 at 11:13

2 Answers 2


I'm curious about what exactly you're looking for and why? Who are the users you have in mind when you're thinking about user experience?

When I do usability testing, I never ask, "How would you rate your user experience?" That's because user experience is an umbrella term that covers many aspects of a person's experience with someone or something. Access, usability, efficiency, reducing friction, preventing errors, solving problems, usefulness, enjoyment... those are all part of the user experiences that I measure as a UX designer/researcher. So you might not find a scholarly article that says exactly the phrase you're looking for. It's not because the connection does not exist. You might just need to approach it from a different angle.

Try looking for the connection between accessibility and those qualities that user experience measures or attempts to improve for instance:

  • Video with vs. without closed captioning: Without CC excludes those who are low hearing or deaf, or who cannot have the volume too loud for whatever reason (kids are asleep, they're in a library or waiting room.) With closed captioning, more people are able to consume and enjoy the video, thus improving their experience.

  • Keyboard navigation: many people rely on the keyboard alone to navigate the web and their computers. Reasons for this include those who have low or no vision to point and click with a mouse, "superusers" who are inputting a lot of data and find it more efficient to tab through long forms as opposed to taking their hands off the keyboard to get to each field.

These are just a couple of examples, but there are many.

Here is an article that might help you with your research: 6 Unexpected Benefits of Web Accessibility

And if there is a lack of the thing you are looking for, perhaps you can fill that void? I can think of so many people who it would be so much easier to point to an article instead of explaining why improving A, B, and C improves UX overall. Sure would save me some time to do the actual research and designing!


I think this is basically implied, at least for the users that are unable to access the contents of the website because it is inaccessible to them.

But if you are asking about implementing design principles for accessibility and inclusive design, and whether it will have an impact on the overall user experience for everyone, there are both case studies and examples where if it is poorly implemented then the overall experience will drop, and if it is implemented well then everybody benefits.

I think searching for keywords like inclusive design and accessibility with user experience design will probably give you better results.

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