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Tapping into the POUR Principles

How accessibility fundamentals can expand your audience

by mangrove team
published on June 28, 2024
a laptop computer with a refreshable braille display sitting on top of a desk.

Your website may be visually striking, filled with valuable content, and capable of attracting an audience, but is it inclusive and accessible to everyone who might visit it? The WebAIM Million study of one million website homepages discovered an average of 56.8 distinct accessibility errors per page (WebAIM, 2024). Additionally, nearly 96% of pages failed to meet WCAG 2 accessibility standards. Despite its critical importance, there is a fair amount of work to be done before truly accessible websites are embraced as the status quo, so it’s important to recognize where your own site may need improvements.

While recognizing an appealing design or engaging content is often straightforward, understanding website accessibility can be more challenging. The many small details can feel overwhelming, but one approach that can help simplify the process is to group requirements according to the POUR principles. Developed by the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C), the four elements that make up the POUR acronym represent the fundamental aspects of web accessibility and provide a benchmark for creating more inclusive design and content for your audiences.

Let’s explore what each of the POUR principles represent:


To be accessible, your website needs to be perceivable for a diverse audience. This means that all information and interface elements will be recognizable by all users. Many people use visual cues to navigate, but it’s important to consider those who use sound and other senses to engage with your website. For example, your design should accommodate for speech-to-text, braille, and translations, as well as feature simple language and print large enough to be read with ease. Everyone, no matter how they’re exploring your website, should be able to access the same information and have the same high-quality experience.


An accessible website must have an interface, components, and navigation that are easy to use for everyone. This means ensuring all functionalities are compatible with the mouse, keyboard, and assistive devices. Users should also be able to pause, rewind, and fast-forward time-dependent media like video and animations. It’s also important to avoid flashing or flickering elements, as these can be dangerous for people with seizure disorders and triggering for those with migraine disorder or vestibular disorders.


If your website is perceivable and operable but difficult for your audience to understand, it will still fall short of being fully accessible. Strive for clarity and simplicity in design and language, ensuring users can effortlessly grasp and engage with your content. How can you do this? Be consistent in your design and navigation features, so similar visual elements accomplish the same tasks regardless of where they appear on site. Ensure text is readable, and avoid unclear acronyms or jargon that cannot be understood through context or are not accompanied by plain language explanations.

Don’t assume all visitors to your website are experts in your product or service. Those seeking your expertise might not be familiar with the specialized vocabulary you use. For instance, spelling out acronyms like SEO as “search engine optimization” can help reduce confusion. Avoiding jargon and idioms ensures your content is more inclusive and accessible to a wider audience.


Develop your site in a way that can be accessed by various devices. Remember that desktop computers and mobile devices are only two of countless device types that have access to the internet. Reliable interpretation for all users, regardless of how or where they are accessing your content, is key to having a robust site. This means ensuring your website is compatible with all browsers and current assistive technologies. It also means building a site that will remain compatible with any future technology advancements.

Champion inclusivity and reach a wider audience with accessibility

The World Health Organization reports that approximately 1.3 billion people have a significant disability, or 1 in 6 people around the world. By aligning your site with the POUR principles, you’re not just creating accessible digital experiences—you’re championing inclusivity and ensuring you can reach a larger portion of your potential audience. Everyone benefits when inclusivity is prioritized. 

Is your current website as accessible as it could be? If you’re not sure, it’s okay — we’re here to help. Connect with us today to discuss your website’s accessibility in detail.

Image by Elizabeth Woolner on Unsplash

A Certified B Corp, Mangrove is a woman-owned website design and development company with a diverse, talented team distributed around the globe. We’ve been building websites since 2009 that amplify the work of change-making organizations and increase the competitive power of businesses owned by historically marginalized people.

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