Website accessibility is not just a form of business courtesy. It is mandated by law, and full compliance is required for websites. Website accessibility means providing access and ensuring all users have ease of use regardless of the person’s level of ability, condition, or circumstance.
Website accessibility eliminates barriers to users’ access and comprehensibility, creating a fully inclusive website experience for everyone, even those with visual, cognitive, physical, and auditory impairments.
Regarding website experience, what could be a mere annoyance to some – the squinting at poorly designed fonts or frustration at a hard-to-navigate page – could be prohibitive for people with disabilities.
The Primary Reasons Why Website Accessibility Is Important:
1. Inclusivity provides equal access for even those with disabilities.
13% of the population of the United States has a disability. Alienating this demographic will be akin to giving up on a potential market. It will not be suitable for any business.
2. Improves overall user experience.
Website accessibility enhances usability and ultimately yields a more intuitive user experience. Sites that conform to web accessibility best practices make it easy for everyone to navigate through and comprehend the contents available on the site.
It is wrong to assume that web accessibility is only for the benefit of people with disabilities. There are circumstances when even people without disability benefit from accessible design and layout:
When they need to rely on captions in noisy surroundings
When they have difficulty reading in dark or very bright environments
When they need to read transcripts for a better understanding
When they solely rely on keyboards in the absence of a mouse
3. It is not just courteous; it is conscientious.
Website accessibility provides people with disability with an equal footing in terms of engagement and participation in the website content.
Everyone profits when society acts progressively and looks out for everyone’s good. That’s what web accessibility implies. Such is the social contract that website accessibility embodies.
4. Compliance is mandated by law.
Federal and state laws mandate business websites to be accessible to people with disabilities.
ADA – Under Title III of the American with Disability Act, “all areas of public accommodation, including websites, must be accessible for all users.”
The 21st Century Communications and Video Accessibility Act – mandates that all advanced communications services and products be accessible to people with disabilities.
Who Benefits From Web Accessibility?
At the heart of website accessibility is inclusivity – nobody is left out. It makes for a better society when everyone is granted equal opportunity to engage, even if it is just website content. It is the principle that matters.
It speaks volumes of how much society gives importance to disabled community members. It makes for a more caring society.
Web Accessibility provides a more effortless user experience for people hampered by the following disabilities:
Visual – blindness, low vision, and color blindness
Hearing – deafness and auditory impairments
Neurological – epilepsy, Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s disease
Cognitive – attention deficiencies, learning disabilities, and logic
Motor – limited fine motor control, difficulty or inability to use hands
Businesses mindful of website accessibility have websites calibrated to engage a wider audience of potential clients/customers for their goods and services. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 61 million American adults have some form of disability. That is approximately 1 for every 4 American adults or 26%.
It is not just discourteous for business websites not to be accessible to people with disability. It is estimated that the combined purchasing power of assistive technology (disabled plus the elderly) is valued at $350 Billion. Ignoring this demographic altogether is an absolute waste of opportunity for businesses.
Accessible websites also have better search engine optimization. This means those websites rank high on search engines like Google and Yahoo.
How Can A Business Have Better Website Accessibility?
Web accessibility calls for sites to optimize tools and technologies to aid in the understanding, navigation, and interaction of people with disabilities experience on-site.
Websites must be able to support assistive technology tools. Assistive technology tools, software, and hardware allow for more straightforward navigation of websites and better comprehension of content. Assistive technology tools include screen readers, alternative keyboards/trackpads, eye-tracking tools, and screen magnifiers.
The guidelines for creating an accessible website are the following:
Use of text alternatives (alt text).
Availability of text transcripts and captions for audio content.
Present contents in various formats.
Refrain from using time-based content, auto-plays, and flashes.
Provide accessible navigation.
The text should be easy to read and understand.
Make content appear and operate predictably.
Declaration of Accessibility.
It has also been established that it will cost less to build an accessible, standards-compliant site from the get-go than to have it implemented on an already existing website. Accessibility should be integrated into the web development and design process rather than an “add-on” as an afterthought.
Disabilities should not be a barrier to digital access. Businesses should ensure that technologies are employed to provide everyone, regardless of age, or physical or mental abilities, with ease of use and navigation when visiting their websites.
Websites designed with accessibility can yield better search results, lower maintenance costs, and better audience reach and may give businesses that aura of corporate social responsibility.
Ultimately, a well-designed and accessible website significantly improves the user experience for all site visitors, with or without disabilities.
Website Accessibility is not just a sound business practice and a legal obligation. It is not only good for business - it is the right thing to do.
Why partner with Wise Marketing Professionals?
From design and development to execution and optimization, Wise Marketing Professionals can guarantee that your business website will be accessible and inclusive. Let us guide you on the path to digital marketing success.
Contact us today, and together we will explore how to tailor our services to your needs.