Usability and accessibility » Visualizations

Sebastian Greger This is a living document
Last update:

Commonly based on advanced visual representations, the accessibility of (interactive) information and data visualizations is often very limited. A growing community aims to tackle these limitations by developing and showcasing best practices.

The probably most comprehensive “starter pack” on this topic – I consider this a must-read for anyone working with data visualization:

With great interest, I discovered the comprehensive guide “Centering Accessibility in Data Visualization” by Urban Institute: it approaches the topic from general considerations on the role of #a11y in process and artifact, diving all the way into specific examples showcasing how things should be done in an inclusive way.


Data visualization cares disproportionately far too much about designing for colorblindness relative to other disabilities that are more common (visual impairments included).

(A thread on disability, race, and patriarchy in data visualization.)

— Frank ⌁ (@FrankElavsky) January 18, 2021

Frank Elavsky highlights how the debate is too much focused on colourblindness etc., with is also a systemically male-focussed approach, and other aspects would be much more important to tackle.


Some other sources that provide a good starting point to dive into the topic:

Specific aspects of dataviz a11y


Alt text

Creating descriptive alternative representations of data visualizations is a complex task. While the general considerations for alt texts apply, visualized data comes with additional considerations:

It gets even more complicated with interactive presentations, as the interactive features have to be represented in the alternative content as well:


Vector graphics, with SVG itself being semantic, provide ample opportunities for designing accessible data visualizations. But mastering this skill is far from easy:



There is an active community working on questions of how to make comics more accessible. Their work can also inform other fields of making visual content accessible.

Blind Accessible Comics
My interest in the accessibility of information visualisations occasionally leads me into the rather niche topic of accessible comics. **Comics and graphic novels share a lot of the accessibility challenges information visualisations have** (content that is by definition first and foremost visual), hence the approaches to solving the challenge could cross-pollinate.
The demo at by Paul Spencer is a showcase of various techniques to make a digital comic accessible for all.

A blog post sharing a list of resources from a webinar on the topic of accessible comics.

Case studies





Some websites that collect resources around this topic:

Frameworks and tools with potential for good a11y

Charts.css is a modern CSS framework. It uses CSS utility classes to style HTML elements as charts.

I'm Sebastian, Sociologist and Interaction Designer aiming to bring toge­ther social science and design for inclusive, privacy-focused, and sustainable "human-first" digital strategies. This is my "digital garden" with carefully curated resources. For a more stream-like outlet, see my journal.

My occasionally sent email newsletter has all of the above, and there is of course also an RSS feed or my Mastodon/Fediverse profile.