Web accessibility is an issue that affects everyone, not just those with disabilities. Understanding, using, and preparing for online accessibility can be difficult, and full compliance is best approached in stages. Web accessibility must be addressed proactively to be most effective, which includes educating oneself about accessibility, generating accessible content, and making that content easily accessible to all online users.
What is web accessibility?
The ability of an app, website, or software to be accessible to people with disabilities that impact their vision, hearing, cognition, and/or motor functions is referred to as web accessibility or digital accessibility. There are numerous types of assistive technology solutions (software and hardware) available to help people with impairments navigate a website and interact with its content. Screen readers, alternate keyboards and/or trackpads, screen magnifiers, eye tracking tools, and other tools are examples of these tools.
Why is it important?
According to the World Health Organization’s (WHO) 2011 World Report on Disability, 15% of the global population is disabled. This covers both physical and cognitive and neurological problems. Disability rates are only expected to rise as the population ages and chronic health issues become more prevalent. People with disabilities should have equal access to information as those who do not. Fortunately, technologies exist to minimize or eliminate the barriers to their digital access. The availability of these benefits assures that everyone, regardless of age, physical or mental abilities, has access to the internet and a positive web experience.
A robust accessibility plan provides financial benefits in addition to making the internet a more inclusive place for everyone. Accessibility is a component of design and development that affects practically every aspect of the production of a website. It combines mobile-friendly designs, device independence, multi-modal interaction, usability, search engine optimization (SEO), and other elements. Websites that are easily accessible can have better search results, save maintenance costs, reach a larger audience, and exhibit corporate social responsibility (CSR). As a result, having a well-designed, accessible website not only makes your site accessible to persons with disabilities, but it may also dramatically improve the user experience for all site visitors.
Who benefits from accessibility?
Accessible online content means that everyone is included, no one is excluded from receiving your message. Messages that are inclusive mean that we can all participate and get the same information. It promotes society as a whole by allowing more people to participate actively, sharing their thoughts and perspectives. Websites and online content that are easily accessible are more likely to attract a larger audience of potential users. Accessible websites also have better search engine optimization. This means that easily accessible websites are ranked higher and are more likely to appear near the top of a Google, Yahoo, or other search engine. It is also less expensive to construct an accessible, standards-compliant website from the start rather than recreating it from scratch.
How to improve Web accessibility?
When constructing or rebuilding a website, developers can increase website accessibility as part of the user experience (UX) by following the Universal Design Principles. This ensures that the disabled community may access a certain website using their assistive technology.
- Equitable use: The design is appropriate for persons of varying abilities.
- User friendliness: The design allows for a wide range of individual preferences and skills.
- Simple and intuitive usage: Regardless of the user’s experience, knowledge, language skills, or present concentration level, the design’s use is simple and intuitive.
- Perceptible information: The design efficiently transmits necessary information to the user, regardless of ambient conditions or sensory capacities.
- Error tolerance: The design minimizes dangers and the negative repercussions of unintentional or accidental activities.
- Low physical effort: The design allows for efficient, comfortable, and fatigue-free use.
- Size and space for approach and usage: Regardless of the user’s body size, posture, or mobility, adequate size and space is provided for approach, reach, manipulation, and use.
Why is web accessibility important for businesses?
While accessibility benefits users with disabilities, it also benefits your company. Accessibility can help you develop your brand, reach a larger audience, lower your risk of legal difficulties, and improve your SEO and usability.
Strengthens your brand – Ensuring web accessibility development services implies that your company is aware of industry standard practices. Customers and partners are drawn to companies that foster an ethical culture. A business website that is inaccessible, on the other hand, can hurt your company’s reputation.
Engage a larger audience – Disabilities, impairments, and limitations come in a wide range of forms. They can manifest as hearing loss, visual impairment, cognitive difficulties, or movement restrictions. Improving the accessibility of your website is a wise business move.
Improves SEO – Accessible websites not only encourage usability, but they also improve your site’s chances of being found on search engines by enhancing your search engine optimization. SEO and accessibility are inextricably linked. Websites with simple, clean, user-friendly interfaces make it easier for persons with impairments to use them and have a lower bounce rate.
Enhance usability – Web accessibility and usability are linked in the same way that SEO and web accessibility are. Accessibility’s goal is to make surroundings, services, and goods more accessible to persons with impairments and restrictions. From this standpoint, accessibility is another facet of usability because it encourages a simple user experience.
Web accessibility isn’t the most difficult problem to solve. All it takes is a willingness to learn about common problems and their remedies. A solid rule of thumb is to never leave accessibility planning till the end of the website design process. Rather, incorporate accessibility from the beginning of site planning and creation, and then into each succeeding project.
Pankaj Tripathi is a content marketer with over 6 years of experience. With experience in the industries of B2B SAAS, e-commerce, and the hospitality sector, Pankaj brings a wealth of knowledge to his writing. In his initial role, he supported over 100 writers in creating content for diverse fields such as finance, medicine, insurance, and media and publications.