Accessibility for Sitecore

Implementing robust accessibility features is critical. Explore how Sitecore meets the challenge.

Importance of Accessibility

An estimated 20% of all internet users have a disability or impairment, yet most websites are not accessible to them. This creates some major issues. Filtering 20% of your audience harms your top and bottom lines and damages your brand. Furthermore, consider the 20% who tell their friends, family, and colleagues about the inaccessible website. Globally, it is estimated that people with disabilities and those close to them control $13 trillion dollars of disposable income.

Accessibility should be one of the most important factors when designing, building, and enhancing a new website. Many websites suffer from poor contrast issues, a menu that cannot be tabbed through, and images with no alt text to describe their content. These are just a few of the common accessibility issues found on typical websites.

Accessibility Standards

There are several different accessibility standards depending on the geographical region. It is important to understand the particular standard applicable to your region. The most common standard is WCAG 2.1, which stands for Web Content Accessibility Guidelines. More information can be found here:

Accessibility should be planned and tested during the design and build phase. Every website should have certain features to establish a basic foundation for accessibility:

  • Alt text on images so that a screen reader can describe them to someone who is visually impaired
  • Keyboard-friendly navigation that can be easily tabbed through and described in order
  • Proper colour contrast throughout the content
  • Use of aria labels to describe a string value into something more descriptive

This list is not exhaustive but provides some examples.

How do we test for accessibility?

Google Lighthouse can run tests for both desktop and mobile and provide an accessibility score. It can also provide insights into why your site may not be accessible, allowing you to correct those issues. However, it is important to note that Lighthouse is a quick test, not a comprehensive review.

While Lighthouse provides an accessibility score, this does not mean that your site is accessible or compliant. It is merely a general idea. Accessibility is an ongoing activity that should be considered with any site enhancement, content publication, or site modification.

Accessible vs. Compliant

This is our number one conversation with customers: just because your site is accessible doesn't mean it's compliant. You can put thousands of dollars of effort into ensuring accessibility, but it may still not be compliant.

To achieve compliance, it's necessary to hire an accessibility specialist who is accredited to audit and provide conformance to your website. Ensure they are accredited in the region(s) where your site(s) operate.

These specialists can perform a detailed audit and describe the work required to make your site accessible, or they can be involved early in a web project to ensure compliance from the start.

This is the proper way to go, but there are a few realities with this approach that can make it untenable:

  • Finding someone who can do this can be challenging. It's a highly specialized skill.
  • It's expensive up-front and ongoing. While we shouldn't sacrifice accessibility for cost, the bottom line is that most of us have budget constraints. It will take time for this to "catch up".
  • As I keep saying, this is an ongoing part of your website support. Every time you publish content, it needs to be audited for accessibility.

What if my site is not compliant?

As described, you are not only filtering out a large portion of potential clients but also opening yourself up to lawsuits. You can do your own research on this but in every jurisdiction, lawsuits are becoming more frequent and more expensive. You don’t need to be compliant to protect yourself from litigation but you do need to prove you are working on it.

What can I do to provide accessibility options?

We recommend using an automated accessibility solution to protect yourself from litigation and provide accessibility options while working on the big picture. One such solution we partner with is Accessibe (

Disclaimer: Accessibe is not intended to replace designing and building your website to be accessible, nor is it a long-term end-all solution. It's designed to bridge the gap between being accessible and compliant while allowing your organization time to catch up.

Highlights of Accessibe include:

  • A widget on your website enabling people with disabilities to toggle on or off numerous features, instantly making your website more accessible.
  • Daily scanning and reporting so any new content published can be scanned and informed about its accessibility.
  • Provision of an accessibility statement stating all the work done on the site and that your organization is performing as close as possible to the "x" standard.
  • A litigation package that fights any actual litigation that may occur.
  • Easy installation with JavaScript embedding on your site.
  • Widgets can be themed to match your brand.

There are several pricing tiers for Accessibe:

If your site gets over 100,000 monthly visits, you will automatically need the Enterprise Plan. Otherwise, it is then decided by page count. Accessibe can be purchased through Fishtank and we can help you select the right plan.


Accessibility is a crucial aspect of any website and should be given due attention. It's important to be aware of the various factors involved and the solutions available to ensure accessibility. Regardless of whether someone has a disability or not, it's essential for everyone in an organization to advocate for accessibility and allocate the necessary budget and effort to achieve it.

Meet Derek Bairstow

Vice President | Sitecore Ambassador MVP


Derek is the Vice President and a Cloudflare Sales Professional (CSP). He's been in Technology Consulting for 7 years and IT Management for 13 years. Derek has experience in Energy, Non-Profit and the Higher Education space however, Fishtank has allowed him to touch many other industries. He's an avid biker, loves to go for drives to the mountains, and has a big soft spot for his dog Molly. Derek is also Fishtank's resident Dad Joke connoisseur.

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