Website accessibility lately became a more important topic for many website owners. If you have not heard of this before, read further. I will give you a brief overview of what accessibility means, why it is important and what you need to implement it.
In short, it means to make your website usable for people with disabilities. For a website to be considered accessible according to the Web Accessibility Initiative (WAI), it needs to fulfill the following four principles. Your website should be:
Anyone should be able to see or hear the content you provide on your website.
Anyone should be able to navigate your website easily. By touch, mouse, typing, or voice.
The content on your website should be written or produced in a way that makes it easy to follow and understand for all your visitors.
There are many tools out there that help disabled people navigate the web with ease. Your website should be ready to support those tools.
By fulfilling all those principles, you make your website not only more easily usable for disabled people with visual, hearing, mobility, or cognitive impairment. It also helps older people as well as people with bad or limited internet access, e.g. in rural areas and developing countries.
“I don’t know if any of my clients are disabled, is accessibility needed on my website?”Accessibility is essential. As our lives and businesses move more toward an online global world, we want to create an accessible community from the inside out.
Around 15% of the world’s population lives with some form of disability. Whether you are aware or not, disabled people do visit your website. It’s up to you to make sure that you are creating a space that will empower disabled people to interact with your services. By overlooking website accessibility, you could not only be hurting your business, but you might also be hurting another human (or: but you might also be minimizing another human’s experience). Let’s do the good work as we build our global online community. We’ve seen the brick & mortar world struggle for years to fix accessibility inequities; as we get further into creating a complex online global community, this is a great opportunity to highlight the value of a wholly accessible and usable online world.
Additionally, in some countries, the law dictates that websites must be accessible (see Accessibility guidelines & the law). Not complying with accessibility regulations could cause you to lose out on visitors from those markets entirely.
But this is not all. There are even more reasons for you to make sure your website is accessible. One of them is SEO. By providing more information for people with disabilities, you also improve your website’s chance of being found on the web. After all, search engines priority is to find as much information as possible about your business on your website.
But first and foremost, making your website accessible is simply the right thing to do. A website should not be any different than any public building. No one should be restricted from getting in or using it just because of their disabilities.
This may seem like a lot to take in and a major project to implement on your website. But don’t worry, most of the changes can be implemented inside the code of your website without essential changes to your website’s structure, layout, or design. To make a website accessible, a few clear ground rules should be taken into consideration. The first thing you can do is ask yourself the following questions:
You might be surprised that, without knowing it, you have most of the necessary elements in place just by having followed some important principles of web design, copywriting, and SEO.
Should you, however, need further assistance to make your website truly accessible, I’d be thrilled to help you! Drop me a line and I’ll be in touch.