An indispensable resource that few of us can live without nowadays, the worldwide web helps us address a wide range of issues, find answers to all our questions, buy whatever we need and connect with more people than was ever possible before its creation. Many industries, including healthcare, education, employment, online purchasing and government services, give full access to their services only through the web, making it essential that their sites are accessible to everyone.
People with disabilities of course have every right to be able to access services online, just as anyone else does, but their experience needs to be a positive one that enables them to explore the site in an accessible way, whatever their disability may be.
Let’s look at web accessibility in a little more detail:
Designing websites, tools and technologies that can be accessed by people with disabilities, is what true accessibility is defined as, and it should enable those individuals to:
See, understand, navigate and interact with the web
Contribute to the web
There are many disabilities that can affect an individual’s ability to access the web in a meaningful and complete way, and some of these include the following:
That said, web accessibility can also be of benefit to people without disabilities, in the following ways:
For those using mobile phones, smart devices with small screens and differing modes of input etc.
– Senior citizens who may have impaired and changing abilities due to ageing
– Anyone with a disability that may be temporary, such as a broken arm
– For people who may be using a device in bright sunlight or who cannot listen to audio for any reason
– Anyone trying to access the web with a slow internet connection
As well as a site being accessible for people with disabilities, it can also offer them a very real lifeline if they’re not physically able to go shopping, or who are unable to read printed material in its standard form. With high percentages of many global communities comprised of people with disabilities, all businesses can benefit from having an accessible site.
There are also many best practices associated with the design of mobile websites, such as speed, usability and SEO optimization, that can be achieved by following the rules of accessibility.
If your website isn’t yet fully accessible, below are 3 important reasons why you should fix this, right away:
– You could be reaching a new and much wider audience, all waiting to spend their money on your products and services
– The chance of you facing embarrassing and costly legal action or prosecution, is all but eliminated
– Your brand could truly stand out among your competitors when it becomes accessible to everyone
Embracing accessibility is all about embracing your businesses true potential, and showing your audience that you place their needs, above your own. So, to boost your online presence, reduce the risk of legal action, improve the experience for your customers and give your brand the credibility it deserves, reach out to an accessibility expert sooner, rather than later.