Digital Accessibility Books

This article was written by OZeWAI member Ricky Onsman and was originally published on the TPGi website.

Following on from my earlier blog post on Digital Accessibility Blogs and Newsletters, I was asked if I could recommend any good books and podcasts on digital accessibility. This post will focus on books.

Books?! Are you kidding? Who reads books any more, right? 

While it’s true that books in print can go out of date, and sometimes very quickly, the funny thing is that more books keep getting published, and bought. Personally, I still like to have a good technical book propped open next to my laptop as I test out some code samples. Others may like to have an ebook open while they code.

What follows is not an exhaustive list, by any means, just books I’ve come across that are relatively recent, of high quality, and that I’ve found to be particularly useful. Most of the publishers referred to have more books in stock that relate to digital accessibility to greater or lesser degrees, and they are definitely worth exploring.

Some of these books are specific about technologies, some focus on particular content types, some have a lot of code and markup, some have very little and focus instead on principles and the bigger picture.

I’ve listed the formats in which these books are available, but I haven’t included the price as that can vary from format to format. Some have free downloads or are free to read online. Some publishers also include titles in thematic bundles that can also affect the purchase price.

The descriptions come from the publisher or author. These are not reviews, so I’ve used their words. 

Web Accessibility Cookbook, Manuel Matuzovic

O’Reilly Media, coming in September 2024

Frontend developers have to consider many things: browser compatibility, usability, performance, scalability, SEO, and other best practices. But the most fundamental aspect of creating websites is one that often falls short: accessibility. The Web Accessibility Cookbook provides you with dozens of recipes to help you avoid these failures. Read the first two chapters now online with a 10-day free trial.

Online pre-publication, then paperback, ebook

A11Y Unraveled: Become a Web Accessibility Ninja, by Dimitris Georgakas

Apress, 2023

Make designing and developing accessible websites fun and straightforward by deciphering information that is often confusing. This book examines how web professionals can ensure a website is as accessible as it can be, meeting the needs of its audience. The main focus is on web accessibility and, WCAG 2.1 and 2.2 guidelines.

Paperback, ebook

Inclusive Design Communities, Sameera Kapila

A Book Apart, 2022

Whether you’re a student, educator, practicing designer, manager, recruiter, mentor, or organizer, you’ll learn to notice subconscious bias, interrogate your values, and actively create welcoming spaces for all. Inclusive Design Communities will empower you to build the design industry you want to see—the one we all deserve.

Paperback, ebook

Giving a Damn About Accessibility, Sheri Byrne-Haber

UX Collective, 2021

Many accessibility guides out there are either too prescriptive (making it seem like a checklist), too aspirational (painting a utopian picture that doesn’t drive action), or too charity-driven (driving the point that people with disabilities are to be pitied). This handbook is a little different.

PDF download, SoundCloud audio

Structured Negotiation: A Winning Alternative to Lawsuits, Second Edition, Lainey Feingold

A11y Books, 2021

Stories and strategies from 25 years of collaborative advocacy for accessible technology and other issues.

Paperback, ebook

Accessible Vue, Marcus Hermann

Leanpub, 2021

From disclosure widgets to accessible routing and automated tests to modal dialogs, Accessible Vue provides you patterns, strategies, tools, mindset and vocabulary for building inclusive apps in our favorite JavaScript framework.

Ebook, online

Inclusive Components, Heydon Pickering

Smashing Magazine, 2019

At its heart, “Inclusive Components” is a detailed, practical handbook for building fully accessible interfaces. The book examines common interface patterns — accordions, tables, tabs, toggles and everything in-between — through the lens of inclusion. The result is a dozen of fully accessible and robust patterns we author, plug in, and use daily.

Hardcover, ebook

Inclusive Design for a Digital World, Regine Gilbert

Apress, 2019

For a long time, the concept of accessibility has been limited in terms of only defining physical spaces. However, change is afoot: personal technology now plays a part in the everyday lives of most of us, and thus it is a responsibility for designers of apps, web pages, and more public-facing tech products to make them accessible to all. Our digital era brings progressive ideas and paradigm shifts – but they are only truly progressive if everybody can participate.

Paperback, ebook

Accessibility and Inclusive Design: Why They’re Not the Same, Derek Featherstone

SitePoint, 2019

In this case study, Derek Featherstone outlines some painful lessons learned while building an accessible video player, and outlines the inclusive design approach that should have been taken from the outset.


Approachable Accessibility: Planning for Success, Martine Dowden, Michael Dowden

Apress, 2019

This book makes the topic of web accessibility as approachable as possible to help every web professional become an accessibility advocate at their companies, on their projects, and in their communities. This discussion will go beyond the buzzword to explore the impact our designs and decisions have on real people, along with the ethical, legal, and financial incentives for accessibility prioritization.

Paperback, ebook

Practical Web Inclusion and Accessibility: A Comprehensive Guide to Access Needs, Ashley Firth

Apress, 2019

You’ll be guided through a broad range of access needs, the barriers users often face, and provided practical advice on how your sites can help rather than hinder. Going beyond advice tailored solely for developers, this book offers potential improvements for designers, developers, user experience professionals, QA and testers.

Paperback, online

Form Design Patterns, Adam Silver

Smashing Magazine, 2018

Without forms, the web is a passive experience where content is just consumed. But with forms the web can be collaborative, creative and productive. Forms are at the center of every meaningful interaction, so they’re worth getting a firm handle on.

Hardcover, ebook

Professional Web Accessibility Auditing Made Easy, Greg Gay

Digital Education Strategies, The Chang School, 2018

Digital accessibility skills are in high demand, as the world becomes more aware of barriers in digital content that prevent some people from participating in a digital society. These are essential skills for web developers, and essential knowledge for organizations that want to ensure their web content is reaching the broadest audience possible.

Online, ebook

Accessibility for Everyone, Laura Kalbag

A Book Apart, 2017

You make the web more inclusive for everyone, everywhere, when you design with accessibility in mind. Let Laura Kalbag guide you through the accessibility landscape: understand disability and impairment challenges; get a handle on important laws and guidelines; and learn how to plan for, evaluate, and test accessible design. Leverage tools and techniques like clear copywriting, well-structured IA, meaningful HTML, and thoughtful design, to create a solid set of best practices.

Paperback, ebook

Color Accessibility Workflows, Geri Coady

A Book Apart, 2017

Color is a powerful tool that affords seemingly endless design possibilities, but we often design with only one type of color vision in mind—our own. Make sure that accessibility and aesthetics go hand in hand with every design you create. Learn what color accessibility is (and why it matters); choose appropriate colors and implement testing; and snag a few key tips and tricks to get your color game plan together.

Paperback, ebook

Inclusive Design Patterns, Heydon Pickering

Smashing Magazine, 2016

We make inaccessible and unusable websites and apps all the time, but it’s not for lack of skill or talent. It’s just a case of doing things the wrong way. We try to build the best experiences we can, but we only make them for ourselves and for people like us.

Hardcover, ebook

Practical Approaches For Designing Accessible Websites, Léonie Watson, Chaals McCathie Nevile, Henny Swan, Scott O’Hara, Marcy sutton, et al

Smashing Magazine, 2015

With the help of this eBook, you will gain a deeper understanding of common accessibility pitfalls and learn to circumvent them to create a better experience for everyone.


A Web for Everyone, Sarah Horton & Whitney Quesenbery

Rosenfeld Media, 2014

If you are in charge of the user experience, development, or strategy for a web site, A Web for Everyone will help you make your site accessible without sacrificing design or innovation. Rooted in universal design principles, this book provides solutions: practical advice and examples of how to create sites that everyone can use.

Paperback, ebook

Apps For All: Coding Accessible Web Applications, Heydon Pickering

Smashing Magazine, 2014

Accessibility is not just about addressing specific disabilities, but making sure as many people as possible have access to the same information.


A Pocket Guide to Colour Accessibility, Geri Coady

Five Simple Steps, 2013

Learn how to create designs that are accessible to people with colour-blindness without sacrificing aesthetics.

Paperback, ebook

Accessibility Handbook, Katie Cunningham

O’Reilly Media, 2012

Get practical guidelines for making your website accessible to people with disabilities. With this handbook, you’ll learn how to design or develop a site that conforms to Section 508 of the US Rehabilitation Act—and in the process you’ll discover how to provide a better user experience for everyone.

Paperback, ebook

In closing, I want to mention some favorite books I refer to for inspiration, to help keep my feet on the ground, or to remind me of the basics. They’re not specifically about digital accessibility but they definitely affect the way I think about it. These are my words.

  • Design for Developers
    Manning, 2023
    This is actually a brand new title, in which Stephanie Stimac does an awesome job of expressing modern design and UX principles in terms that developers can understand and act on. I’m for anything that bridges the divide between devs and design, and I firmly believe that will make digital accessibility easier for everyone to implement.

  • Responsible JavaScript
    A Book Apart, 2021
    JavaScript is something I struggle with sometimes, and this book by Jeremy Wagner keeps me focused: “By centering user needs every step of the way—from toolchains to metrics to testing—we can all contribute to a more inclusive, accessible, and resilient web.” It’s not cheap but it’s become my go-to for JS.

  • Don’t Make Me Think, Revisited
    New Riders, 2014
    Steve Krug has been keeping me grounded for nearly 20 years now, with the original edition of this book, through its sequel Rocket Surgery Made Easy and this revised edition. Following his common sense advice on user experience and usability is guaranteed to improve your approach to digital accessibility. Gold.

  • HTML Semantics
    Smashing Magazine, 2012
    This is a free ebook. Semantic HTML is a fundamental plank of digital accessibility, and between them, Bruce Lawson, Niels Matthijs, Derek Johnson, Divya Manian, Jeremy Keith, and Tyler Tate keep me grounded, and remind me why and how we can avoid the div soup that characterizes too much of the web these days.

  • Responsive Web Design
    A Book Apart, 2011
    It took only a few years for Ethan Marcotte’s revolutionary way of looking at flexible web design to become so accepted we don’t even use the word “responsive” any more, it’s just good web design. On the other hand, there are still plenty of sites out there that display poorly in certain viewports because of the way they were designed, creating accessibility headaches along the way.

  • The Art & Science of Web Design
    New Riders, 2000
    This is the book that started it all for me, that made think I could do this for a living, back when Netscape Navigator and Internet Explorer ruled, when Photoshop was a pretty simple tool, before Flash and XML. Jeffrey Veen explained it all and made it seem incredibly exciting. I took this book along when he came to Australia for a conference and he signed it for me. To be honest, I still don’t understand everything in it, but the bits I do get are still solid, from UI design, to information architecture, to performance, and usability. And the title still sums up for me everything we do.

Please do add your suggestions in the comments.

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