5 Benefits of Making Your Website Accessible
5 Benefits of Making Your Website Accessible
Over one BILLION people in the world experience some form of disability. Accessibility impacts us all.
What is Web Accessibility?
Web accessibility is the process to ensure that a website can be used by ANYONE. More specifically that websites are designed and developed so that people with disabilities can use them. Website content should follow the four main principles "POUR"
What Legislation is in Place Regarding Web Accessibility?
In many areas of the World having an accessible website is not just good business practice, it is required by Law. In Ontario for example the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA) requires that all businesses with more than 50 employees, and all public sector organization with one to forty-nine workers have a website that is compliant with Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0, Level AA.
In the United States The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) prohibits discrimination on the basis of disability in places of public accommodation, and websites are now commonly being interpreted in legal cases of places of public accommodation. Many lawsuits are being filed (and won) by people and groups representing those with disabilities against companies that do not have an accessible website.
The general standards being implemented around the World all follow the WCAG guidelines.
How Can My Business or Website Benefit from Being Accessible?
Bringing accessibility into your digital marketing efforts can have tremendous benefits to your business or website. First of all - you will immediately open up the possibility of doing business with about 20% of visitors that might not have been able to previously access your content. Here are 5 benefits from having an accessible website:
Having An Accessible Website Gives You 20% More Potential Customers
Since an estimated 20% of the population have some form of disability that might be preventing them from accessing the content on your website, or completing your lead generation forms, or purchasing from your e-commerce store, by making your website fully accessible you immediately gain 20% more potential customers without requiring any further marketing!
As an example one website that I visited recently had a menu that was created using a dark grey background and a dark blue coloured font. The colour contrast was very hard for me to read. Imagine someone with vision issues or someone that is colour blind? They would immediately navigate AWAY from that website.
Did you know that anywhere from 8% to 15% of men are colour blind?
In addition to people with identifiable disabilities, you also need to consider those with situational challenges such as someone with a broken arm who is unable for a number of weeks to use a mouse. Is your website easy to navigate just with a keyboard? Or even consider those outdoors on a mobile device searching up information on your website in the sun - can they see the content? All of these potential challenges related to accessibility can deny access to users trying to do business with you.
2. Having an Accessible Website Is the Law, or Probably Will be
Web Accessibility Lawsuits are on track to increase nearly 20% in 2021 (Digital Commerce 360)
Depending on where your business is located and how large it is, laws might already be in place that require you to have an accessible website. However if the laws are not yet in place, as part of your long term planning - they probably will be. I anticipate in Ontario in the next 5 years all websites may be required to be fully accessible in order to continue towards the governments goal for a barrier free Province. And I would agree with this. In the United States lawsuits are being filed on a regular bases against websites that are not accessible, with 11,053 filed in 2019 alone. In a recent lawsuit, Domino's Pizza was found guilty of violating the ADA by having an inaccessible website whereby a blind customer was unable to order Pizza from their online forms.
Avoid the risk of being sued or fined and plan to include accessibility in your business sooner, rather than when it is too late.
3. Web Accessibility is Good for SEO
Many of the guidelines that help make a website more accessible are also incredibly beneficial for search engine optimization. For example one of the guidelines requires a text transcript to be included for any video or audio content on a website. This additional text to your site is beneficial for search engines. Creating easy to navigate menu items and buttons with specific keywords is also a big win.
By far though in my opinion and experience is adding ALT text or ALT tags to all images. Not only does this allow screen readers to explain to users what an image is if they are unable to see it, it also explains to Google in very clear terms (using your target keywords for a quick win) what that image is.
4. Web Accessibility is Great for Your Reputation
Creating a website that is compliant with Web Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) is something to celebrate! You can use this in your marketing efforts in the form of a press release, social media posts and more. Including messaging telling your audience and your customers how importance accessibility is to you shows that you care about ALL of your customers. It removes barriers and promotes inclusivity and diversity. You will have an advantage over your competition and create loyalty among your customers. Win / Win / Win!!!
5. Web Accessibility is Morally Just the Right Thing To Do
Morality can be defined as the differentiation of intentions, decisions and actions between those that are distinguished as proper and those that are improper (Wikipedia)
The difference between right and wrong.
Having an accessible website is morally just the right thing to do.
The benefits far outweigh any potential additional cost to spend the time and effort to make sure there are no barriers in your business preventing people from doing business with you.
Regardless of the size or nature of your business, blog, organization, or online store - consider learning more about web accessibility and develop a plan to implement strategies to bring you closer and the world closer to an internet that is fully accessible to all.
NOT SURE WHERE TO START WITH WEB ACCESSIBILITY?
The team at Dufferin Media have all been fully trained in Web Accessibility and we are offering a free website accessibility audit.