In our excitement to build an awe-inspiring website, we often overlook some of the critical features concerning its accessibility.
So, what exactly does it mean for a website to be accessible, and why is it so important that it should be your priority? Read on ahead to find out.
What Does Having an Accessible Website Mean?
An accessible website conforms to the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) that ensure a website has specific essential characteristics such as:
- The website is accessible to individuals with disabilities such as hearing or visual impairment
- The website should be perceivable with appropriate text and image sizes, colours, styling, etc.
- It should translate effectively on devices with different aspect ratios such as phones, laptops, tablets, PC, etc.
- It should be operable with functionalities easily controlled by a mouse and keyboard
- It should follow a clear standard that meets the needs of people
Here are 4 top reasons why it is vital to have an accessible website.
1. Involve People With Disabilities
An accessible website means that users with disabilities can use your website and get all the information they need, leading to a great user experience. According to AA Accessibility (Acceptable Compliance) guidelines, a website should provide equivalent alternatives to visual and auditory content.
An example of how we can be more inclusive is to have captions on a video for people with hearing impairment. Or use correct colour contrast so everyone can read text on coloured backgrounds.
2. Attracting Mobile Users
Having a website that works well on phones will help boost your digital reach. According to statistics, there are over 7.26 billion mobile phones worldwide.
We see more recently with our client’s websites that users are now more typically using their phones to visit websites.
A website that appears broken on different screen sizes is a red flag. Issues on a website will immediately shoo away any user and, with them, an opportunity to engage with that user.
An accessible website deals with enhancing user experiences on different devices.
3. Complying with guidelines, and best practices
An accessible website can put you in the good graces among many people, but if ignored, it can also make you vulnerable to legal actions. Under UK law, a company can be sued for discrimination if the website is not accessible. In 2017 in the USA, a Federal Court in Florida penalized Winn Dixie Store because it violated the Americans with Disabilities Act, as their website failed to render accessibility to people with sight impairment (source).
4. Supercharging Your Digital Reach
Google is the world’s top visited website, which means to attract a majority of the internet audience, you need to be able to appear on Google searches. You can do certain things to help you rank higher on Google, which is what’s known as Search Engine Optimization or SEO for short.
SEO depends on several factors, like how long a user stays on your website or how many users click through once they see your website in their search results. An accessible website is excellent for all users. Google loves this and will promote your website higher in search results.
Furthermore, WCAG suggests all your other platforms, such as Maps, Facebook, Instagram, etc, meet accessibility standards. This can supercharge your digital reach, as everyone can engage in your content. This is all thanks to having an accessible website.
You need to make your content accessible to everyone.
Whenever you need to learn something new, what’s the first thing you do? Conduct an internet search, right? Exactly. Every user on the internet does this, and it’s your opportunity to give them what they’re searching for.
You can attract new audiences, retain current ones, and convert in higher percentages by having an accessible website. Furthermore, it protects you from potential lawsuits, which in many cases are justifiable.
Regardless, an accessible website helps you connect with your audiences better and prevents any negatives that are off-putting to your audience.
An accessible website caters to the needs of different users, organizations, and governments worldwide, from enhancing the user experience for people with disabilities to improving website functionality overall. The way to measure accessibility is with WCAG guidelines.
We want everyone to be able to use your websites, which is why we ensure all our websites meet AA standards.
If you are looking for a new website or want an audit on your existing website, we would love to hear from you!