Meeting Australia Website Accessibility Standards: A Guide to DDA Compliance


The web is a crucial platform for information and commerce, necessitating that websites be accessible to all users, which is where DDA compliance comes into play for Australian businesses. Non-compliance not only marginalizes disabled users but can also tarnish a business’s reputation and operational efficiency, with legal and financial repercussions. A DDA-compliant website embraces inclusive design, ensuring that accessibility is a core business value and reflecting a commitment to equality, potentially broadening customer base and satisfaction.


With the web being an indispensable space for information and commerce, it is crucial that your website is accessible to all users, regardless of their abilities. For Australian businesses, a big part of the web accessibility puzzle is the Disability Discrimination Act 1992 (DDA). Let’s talk about the significance of the DDA, the risks of non-compliance and how to create an inclusive online presence that aligns with your business’ commitment to equal representation.

Understanding DDA Web Accessibility Standards

DDA compliance for websites means your website is designed and developed in such a way that it does not discriminate against users with disabilities. In practice, this includes a range of adjustments, from the way content is written and presented to the technical configurations that make a website functional. Put simply, a DDA compliant website embodies inclusivity and equal access for all, from the moment a user lands on the home page.

The Risks of Non-Compliance

Neglecting DDA compliance on your website is a misstep with considerable risks. Non-compliance not only fails those with disabilities but also impacts business integrity, market reach and possibly financial bottom line.

Lost Business Opportunities

With approximately 18% of Australians living with a disability [ref], non-compliance could mean alienating a substantial market segment. Accessibility should be seen as an opportunity to widen your market reach as well as being seen as a champion for equality.

Reputational Risk

If you ignore website accessibility standards, it can be interpreted as your company’s disregard for inclusivity and social responsibility. We’re living in a time where clients are more aware and supportive of social justice, this can lead to a loss of trust and esteem among current and prospective clients.

Diminished Client Satisfaction

Clients with disabilities who encounter barriers on your website may experience frustration and dissatisfaction, leading to negative reviews and word-of-mouth that can tarnish client relationship and retention rates.

Barrier to Innovation

Not staying on top of accessibility is like still using a Nokia 3310 in 2023. Sure, it’s a classic, but you won’t be winning any awards for productivity. Refusing to comply with website accessibility standards can stifle innovation within your business, causing you to fall behind as the industry advances towards more inclusive and technologically adept practices.

Operational Inefficiencies

A website that that fails accessibility requirements may require additional staff time to assist individuals who could not otherwise use the website. This creates an extra layer of operational burden and could lead to increased workload and costs.

A Guide to Making Your Website Accessible

Use Alt Text for Images

Alt text enables screen readers to describe images to users who are visually impaired.

Ensure Sufficient Colour Contrast

Text and background colours must contrast enough to be legible for those with visual impairments.

Provide Text Transcripts for Video Content

Transcripts ensure that content is accessible to users with hearing disabilities.

Create Keyboard Friendly Content

Ensure that users can navigate your website using only a keyboard.

Utilise Responsive Design

Ensure that your website can be accessed and functions properly across different devices and screen sizes. This helps users with disabilities who may rely on mobile devices and varying screen orientations for better accessibility.

Consistent and Predictable Navigation

Keep your website’s navigation consistent across different pages. Predictable layouts and menus help users with cognitive disabilities understand and navigate your site more effectively. Use clear, descriptive titles for links and buttons to improve ease of use.

Offer Alternatives to Time-Based Media

Consider users with disabilities relating to time-based content, such as video or audio that plays automatically. For such users, offer alternatives like pausing, stopping, or hiding those elements altogether. Further, ensure that any moving, blinking, or scrolling content can be paused by the user.

Enable Customisable Text Options

Allow users to adjust the font size and spacing of text on your website. This is particularly helpful for users with visual impairments or reading disorders like dyslexia. Providing a ‘text-only’ mode can also be beneficial.

Use Descriptive URL Structures for Pages & Documents

Ensure that the URLs for your web pages and any downloadable documents are descriptive and provide context. This helps users to understand what kind of content to expect before selecting a link.

Conducting an Accessibility Audit

An accessibility audit is a thorough review of your website to ensure it meets DDA compliance standards. The audit can be conducted using automated tools and should be supplemented with manual testing by individuals with disabilities. This dual approach ensures that technical and experiential aspects of accessibility are accounted for.

The Bottom Line

A DDA compliant website shouldn’t be an optional extra for businesses; it needs to be a fundamental requirement that reflects the core values of accessibility and fairness. By prioritising web accessibility standards, you are demonstrating to current and potential clients that your business is welcoming to all individuals, an attribute that can significantly influence their decision whether to engage your business.

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