Simply put, website accessibility means making sure every visitor can access the site’s features, including people with a variety of physical and mental disabilities or conditions. Here’s why it’s so important.
Why Invest in Website Accessibility?
Improving website accessibility makes it inclusive for all people, as roughly 20% of the population has some kind of physical, sensory, or cognitive disability.
It’s also good for business. Not only does improved accessibility bring disabled users into the fold, but it tends to simplify and streamline the experience for all of site visitors, increasing its effectiveness as a business driver.
Web accessibility can produce cost savings, reducing the load on support staff caused by frustrated visitors unable to use a site’s core functions. What’s more, an accessible site generally works well across devices of all kinds, reducing development and maintenance complexity instead of creating multiple flavors of a site for wider compatibility.
If you need more convincing, a website with poor accessibility could breach disability discrimination laws, such as the American Disabilities Act (ADA) in the U.S. as well as the many equivalents worldwide. Under these regulations, limiting access to your website on disability grounds willfully or carelessly opens up potentially costly legal risks.
What Makes a Website Accessible?
The basic idea behind web accessibility is to remove as many usability barriers as possible so that everyone can access at least the essential features of a site and, ideally, every aspect of it. The most straightforward examples of improving accessibility are also covered by best-practice web design and SEO concepts, such as:
- Adding accurate ‘alt text’ to images
- Including descriptive captioning for all video content
- Ensuring navigation is logical and can be handled solely by keyboard if necessary
- Making all text content fully readable without CSS
- Using valid HTML throughout
All these approaches will improve overall website performance by making it easier to understand for search engines, as well as catering to visitors with older technology or slow internet connections.
However, many less straightforward features should be kept in mind when considering accessibility for people with disabilities. For example, a seemingly balanced and attractive color scheme may be completely unnavigable to people with a color vision deficiency. Graphical effects might engage a regular visitor, but they should be easily turned off for people prone to sensory overload or seizures.
All content should be made available to screen readers, whether that’s straight text, audio transcriptions, or correctly captioned and tagged table data. Other website elements can be made accessible by using the ARIA set of HTML attributes which are specifically designed to make content more accessible and easier to parse by specialist devices.
None of this means limiting your website to the most basic content and techniques. It simply means providing an alternative delivery whenever you reasonably can so everyone viewing your site is able to access your content without difficulty.
Is Your Website Accessible?
Even the smallest web accessibility improvements will make a welcome difference to its value. But to reap the full benefits, a comprehensive audit is the most efficient way forward. Comit’s team of experts can work with you to identify areas where your site’s accessibility might be lacking, recommend cost-effective solutions, and implement them to a fully professional and compliant standard.
From optimizing your website for screen readers to making your content available in alternative formats, we have the knowledge and experience to help you meet your accessibility goals.
If you’d like to learn more about how web accessibility could improve your online presence and profitability, please contact Comit Developers now for a free initial consultation.
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