The first starting point for many people and organizations when building a website is drag-and-drop site builders like Wix and Squarespace. Although these tools often provide templates that take care of the visual design and functional aspects of building a site, they often don’t consider other business requirements, like accessibility.


Our comparison

We looked at each of the major website builders and compared them across a range of accessibility factors needed for meeting standards like WCAG 2.X, and ranked them against each other to see which ones made it the easiest to build an accessible website effectively.

Accessibility legend

  • Overall score 1 out of 5
    does not support most accessibility considerations
  • Overall score 2 out of 5
    supports some accessibility considerations
  • Overall score 3 out of 5
    accessibility considerations can be met, but it will take work
  • Overall score 4 out of 5
    almost out-of-the-box accessibility

Squarespace accessibility

Overall score 3 out of 5
Requires a high degree of custom code

  • Headings Yes

  • Landmarks Partial

  • Skip navigation Partial

  • Tab index Yes

  • Visible focus ring Partial

  • ARIA labels Partial

  • Alt tags Yes

 

Wix accessibility

Overall score 3 out of 5
Requires custom code and some setting changes

  • Headings Yes

  • Landmarks Yes

  • Skip navigation No

  • Tab index Yes

  • Visible focus ring Yes

  • ARIA labels Partial

  • Alt tags Yes

 

EditorX accessibility

Overall score 2 out of 5
Not fully possible within the current Wix system

  • Headings Yes

  • Landmarks Partial

  • Skip navigation No

  • Tab index Partial

  • Visible focus ring Yes

  • ARIA labels No

  • Alt tags Yes

 

Weebly accessibility

Overall score 2 out of 5
Requires a high degree of custom code

  • Headings Partial

  • Landmarks No

  • Skip navigation Custom

  • Tab index Yes

  • Visible focus ring Yes

  • ARIA labels Custom

  • Alt tags Yes

 

Webflow accessibility

Overall score 4 out of 5
Straightforward, but requires some code knowledge

  • Headings Yes

  • Landmarks Yes

  • Skip navigation Custom

  • Tab index Yes

  • Visible focus ring Yes

  • ARIA labels Yes

  • Alt tags Yes

 

WordPress accessibility

Overall score 3 out of 5
Requires extensive custom code, but all of the required items for accessibility are possible.

  • Headings Custom

  • Landmarks Custom

  • Skip navigation Custom

  • Tab index Custom

  • Visible focus ring Custom

  • ARIA labels Custom

  • Alt tags Custom

 

Headless CMS accessibility

Overall score 3.5 out of 5
Requires extensive custom code, but all of the required items for accessibility are possible and the system is easier to use for advanced accessibility items.

  • Headings Custom

  • Landmarks Custom

  • Skip navigation Custom

  • Tab index Custom

  • Visible focus ring Custom

  • ARIA labels Custom

  • Alt tags Custom


The winners

Webflow for designers

Webflow is the best we tested out of all no-code website builders, with ease of use, built-in accessibility features, and customizability all at your disposal when creating a more accessible website.

Headless CMS for developers

A headless CMS is an excellent choice in cases where you are working with a capable developer. A headless CMS offers advanced customizability for any and all accessibility needs, and is a blank slate full of possibilities for usability, design, and accessibility across your website.


An as-is template isn’t necessarily enough to be accessible

Although several of these platforms have taken the time to enhance their platforms’ accessibility, it’s typically more complicated to ensure your site is compliant when using one of these platforms.

For example, to make content on your site accessible, you’ll want to make sure that you have features like a skip navigation link, landmarks on the page for screen readers, and appropriate ARIA labels when needed. Many of these features are not available on these platforms, and if they are, it may take some manual work to set them up.

The more flexible the platform, the more likely you’ll be able to add these features, but even platforms like Webflow require manual coding to add features like a skip navigation link.

Looking for help making your Webflow website accessible?

Check out our guide to making your Webflow site accessible.

Explore the guide


How to choose between WordPress, Webflow, and a Headless CMS

WordPress is a more open-ended and complex option for building a custom site. Because of its maturity as a platform, and the flexibility that comes from not using an existing template, it can be a good solution for making sites that require custom features that wouldn’t be available in a typical template builder.

Webflow is great for many simpler use cases that may have previously been powered by WordPress. Webflow solves several performance issues and other optimization issues, in addition to accessibility, that otherwise require a lot of manual testing and development work when using WordPress. Webflow is prebuilt with accessibility in mind in its components and features, meaning less work is required to make it accessible, even when starting completely from scratch.

For websites being built by a capable development team, a headless CMS system is likely the most ideal combination of flexibility, performance, content management, and development efficiency. Typically offering infinite flexibility and component workflows, a headless CMS can win out over Webflow when you need more control over advanced accessibility attributes or wish to more easily provide a rich content management system for everyday content managers.

Making a website accessible relies on choosing a platform that allows you to make the accessibility adjustments necessary and take an accessibility-centred approach to building your website from the start. Considering who will be helping you build out your website, who will be managing your content on an ongoing basis, and who will be responsible for ongoing maintenance and hosting are all key considerations of selecting the right platform for your needs.


Our accessibility-focused approach

By focusing on making your site accessible across content, design, and development requirements right from the start, and providing resources to your team to continue these efforts longer term, our approach helps save your team from costly rework and retrofitting your site later while guiding you towards maintaining your accessibility objectives with every content update.

When a site is built with this approach, you can focus on maintaining your site’s accessibility and continually improving other areas of your website without needing to spend time fixing larger accessibility issues across your whole website.


Looking for additional support on making a more usable, accessible, and inclusive website?

Get started with our Inclusive Website Audit to uncover issues with your current website, or get in touch to learn more about our accessible website design services.

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