Designing and building a website so that everyone can access and use it easily is key if you want to ensure success. This means you should take certain restrictions that people with auditory, visual, cognitive, and motor disabilities have, into account.
What Is Website Accessibility?
Websites that are accessible have certain protocols in place to ensure that their design enables people with disabilities to use them. The protocols adhere to the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG), which the World Wide Web Consortium developed. These guidelines form the foundation of many of the web accessibility legislation implemented around the world.
Website accessibility should add to the user experience of all your web visitors. Ideally, you should include more search engine friendly practices and design with all sorts of disabilities in mind. Situational disabilities should also be taken into consideration as well as language barriers.
Most people don’t realize the impact that website accessibility can have on their business. Users with disabilities make out a significant portion of web users. As such, not designing an online platform with them in mind excludes them from using your products, services, or website.
Why It’s Important
Being accessible online plays a massive role in a business’s success nowadays. Because of this, you want to make sure that your website design and code makes it easy for everyone to use. If your site isn’t accessible, you lose potential customers as they will look elsewhere for what they need.
Here are some more reasons why website accessibility is critical to your website success.
Seeing that the online spending power of people with disabilities in the USA totals about $490 billion, tapping into this market is a smart business decision. One study also found that 71% of disabled users leave a site they find inaccessible. In addition, up to 83% only buy things on websites that they know are easy to use.
With this in mind, it is shocking to realize that few businesses have a targeted plan to access the disability market.
Doing The Right Thing
Making your website more accessible for everyone not only increases your revenue. It is also the right thing to do in terms of ethics and basic human rights. In fact, many countries have specific regulations in place that require websites to be accessible by law.
If you think about it, you will notice that many of our online experiences are responsible for connecting and educating us. If disadvantaged populations don’t have access to this medium, it will only perpetuate feelings of reliance on others.
Language barriers can also pose a problem seeing as more than one in five people living in the US speak a language other than English at home.
To accommodate everyone and contribute towards an online culture that is both supportive and inclusive, web owners have to design their website with accessibility in mind.
These days, the law requires that companies do not treat disabled individuals less favorably. To make sure you don’t get tangled up in any lawsuits, it would be best to adhere to both national and international standards.
Almost every country has its own set of regulations. In the US, various federal laws cover web accessibility regulations, including The American Disabilities Act (ADA).
It is essential that you find out what the law requires in terms of accommodating those with disabilities in your country. Then, design your website according to those guidelines.
If your country doesn’t have regulations in place, then you can always follow the World Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG). These guidelines define how to make content more accessible to those with disabilities. They are the premium standards that organizations should adopt on a global scale.
Making Your Website More Accessible
There are many things you can do to make your website more user-friendly for all demographics. This includes coding your website with semantically meaningful HTML, including alternative descriptive text for images and meaningful link texts.
By doing this you will ensure that blind users can rely on screen readers to read your website’s content to them.
You can also ensure that your text size is customizable and that your website or its applications are fully navigable via keyboard.
If possible, avoid flashing animations or make them optional. This will help to ensure that your website is sensitive to those prone to photosensitive epileptic seizures.
The above tips don’t represent an exhaustive list of things that you can do to support those with disabilities online. But, it should give you a fairly good idea of where to begin.
The bottom line is that the world as we know it has been shifting to an online format for a long time now. To take everyone along for the ride, website owners should think out of the box. Prioritize the needs of all demographics if you want to run both a successful and sustainable business.