Sitecore Accessibility: Best Practices for Building Inclusive Websites


July 11, 2024

Website accessibility ensures equal access to information for all users, including people with disabilities. The Sitecore platform provides powerful tools for creating accessible websites. This article will look at best practices for improving Sitecore accessibility, ensuring your site is user-friendly for everyone and meets modern accessibility standards.

1. Using Semantic Markup

Using semantic HTML markup is like giving your website a map that helps search engines and assistive technologies easily navigate and understand the content and layout of your page." Using semantic tags like <header>, <nav>, <main>, <section>, <article>, and <footer> helps define critical areas of the page, improving both accessibility and SEO optimization.


The <header> tag defines the top section of a page or section, usually containing the heading and navigation elements. This can include the main site heading, logo, navigation menu, and other introductory elements. For example:

   <h1>Welcome to Our Site</h1>
           <li><a href="#home">Home</a></li>
           <li><a href="#about">About Us</a></li>
           <li><a href="#contact">Contact</a></li>


The <nav> tag groups the main navigation content on a site. It helps assistive technologies like screen readers recognize navigation blocks, improving accessibility. Example:

       <li><a href="#home">Home</a></li>
       <li><a href="#about">About Us</a></li>
       <li><a href="#services">Services</a></li>
       <li><a href="#contact">Contact</a></li>


The <main> tag is used for the main content of the page that is unique and primary to that document. This tag excludes content that repeats across pages (e.g., sidebars, logos, and copyright links). Example:

   <section id="home">
       <h2>Home Page</h2>
       <p>Here you will find the main information about us.</p>
   <section id="about">
       <h2>About Us</h2>
       <p>We offer a wide range of services.</p>


The <section> tag defines sections of a document, such as chapters, headings, and subsections. Each section typically contains a heading. This tag allows structuring the page content and makes it more organized and accessible. Example:

<section id="services">
   <h2>Our Services</h2>
   <p>We offer a variety of services for our clients.</p>


The <article> tag is used for self-contained, independent content that can be distributed and reused, such as articles, blog posts, news, and comments. Each <article> can contain headings, paragraphs, images, and other elements. Example:

   <h2>Article Title</h2>
   <p>Article text. This can be a news item, blog post, or other standalone content.</p>


The <footer> tag is used to define the bottom section of a page or section. This element typically contains copyright information, privacy policy links, contacts, and other important links. Example:

   <p>&copy; 2024 Our Site. All rights reserved.</p>
           <li><a href="#privacy">Privacy Policy</a></li>
           <li><a href="#terms">Terms of Use</a></li>

2. Color Contrast

High contrast between text and background makes reading more accessible for people with visual impairments. You can configure color schemes in Sitecore to meet WCAG (Web Content Accessibility Guidelines) recommendations.

Color Contrast Recommendations

To ensure good readability and accessibility, certain contrast levels between text and background must be observed. WCAG 2.1 standards recommend the following contrast levels:

  • For regular text: The contrast ratio should be at least 4.5:1.
  • For large text (font size 18pt and above, or 14pt and above if the text is bold): The contrast ratio should be at least 3:1.
  • For graphical elements and user interface components: The contrast ratio should be at least 3:1.

Tools for Checking Contrast

You can use tools like WebAIM's Contrast Checker or Color Contrast Analyzer to check color contrast. These tools allow you to input color codes and get a contrast rating that meets WCAG standards.

CSS Examples for Setting Contrast

Example CSS for setting contrast:

body {
   background-color: #ffffff;
   color: #000000; /* Contrast ratio 21:1, meeting standards */

a {
   color: #1a73e8; /* Contrast with white background ~8.59:1 */

a:focus, a:hover {
   color: #d62d20; /* Contrast with white background ~5.89:1 */
   background-color: #fce8e6; /* Contrast with black text ~9.36:1 */

In this example, the text on a white background has a high contrast level that meets WCAG requirements.

Tips for Improving Contrast

  • Choose contrasting color combinations: High-contrast color combinations, such as black text on a white background and white text on a black background, really make a statement and grab your attention.
  • Avoid using light gray text on a white background: This combination is often difficult to read, especially for people with visual impairments.
  • Check the contrast of all interface elements: This includes not only the main text but also buttons, links, headings, and other elements.

3. Alternative Text for Images

All images on the site should have alternative text (alt tags) describing their content. This is important for users using screen readers. In Sitecore, you can easily add alt tags for images through the media library.

Example HTML with alt tags:

<img src="example.jpg" alt="Image description">

To add alt tags in Sitecore, follow these steps:

  1. Go to the media library.
  2. Select the image.
  3. Be sure to add a compelling description to the "Alternate Text" field.

4. Focus Management

Ensure logical and predictable navigation on the site using the keyboard. Make sure all interactive elements (links, buttons, forms) can be activated with the keyboard and have the correct focus order. In Sitecore, you can configure the tab order and use ARIA attributes to manage focus.

Example of using ARIA attributes and managing focus:

<button aria-label="Close menu">Close</button>

<!-- Managing tab order -->
<a href="#main-content" tabindex="1">Skip to main content</a>

<button tabindex="2">Button</button>
<input type="text" tabindex="3">

5. Readability of Content

Content should be easily readable and understandable. Use headings, lists, and short paragraphs to improve the structure of the text. In Sitecore, you can configure templates and components to create structured and readable content.

Example of content structure:

   <h2>Article Title</h2>
   <p>Short introductory paragraph.</p>
       <li>Item 1</li>
       <li>Item 2</li>
       <li>Item 3</li>
   <p>Concluding paragraph.</p>

In Sitecore, you can create templates using modular components to simplify adding structured content.

6. Video and Audio

All video and audio materials should be accompanied by subtitles and text transcripts. In Sitecore, you can use integrations with subtitle and transcript services to ensure the accessibility of multimedia content.

Example of embedding a video with subtitles:

<video controls>
   <source src="example.mp4" type="video/mp4">
   <track kind="subtitles" src="subtitles.vtt" srclang="en" label="English">
   Your browser does not support the video tag.

7. Accessibility Testing

Regularly testing your site for accessibility helps identify and fix potential issues. Use automated testing tools like WAVE or Axe, and conduct manual testing with users with disabilities.

Example of using WAVE for accessibility testing:

  1. Install the WAVE extension for your browser.
  2. Open the site page you want to test.
  3. Click the WAVE icon in the browser to start the analysis.

The test results will show which elements need improvement.


By following these best practices for accessibility in Sitecore, you will create an inclusive and user-friendly site that meets modern accessibility standards. Regular testing and accessibility improvements will help you stay on top and ensure equal access to your content for all users.

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