Marketing, product development, customer service, and staff management are just a few of the areas that business owners must stay on top of if they want their ventures to not only survive, but thrive. With so many balls to keep in the air, it’s no wonder that many business owners overlook the importance of web accessibility, but doing so can be a costly mistake.
Unfortunately, the internet is a long way away from being considered an inclusive place. WebAIM’s 2022 report revealed that 96.8% of the top one million websites had detectable accessibility issues. This means that the majority of websites are excluding users with disabilities.
What is web accessibility?
Web accessibility is the inclusive practice of making websites usable by people of all abilities. This includes those with visual, hearing, motor, and cognitive impairments. There are many ways to make a website more accessible, but some common features include adding alt text to images, providing transcripts for audio and video content, and ensuring that forms can be completed using a keyboard.
The WCAG 2.1 guidelines are the internationally recognized standard for web accessibility and contain a wide array of success criteria that business owners can use to make their sites more accessible.
Then, there are other web accessibility standards to follow like s508 that help web owners and companies around the world to comply with the strict ADA & WCAG guidelines for making a website easily accessible for physically challenged or partially blind individuals. This is necessary to protect your business or organization from unnecessary lawsuits filed by users or site visitors. Here, an expert like “Accessibility Spark” can help comply with such globally approved web design standards.
While it can be difficult to check all of these criteria manually (unless you hire an expert), automated tools such as accessScan can help you find and remediate many common accessibility issues present on your website for free. It does this by utilizing AI technology to simulate user testing, which rapidly scans all of your website’s elements in a matter of minutes.
Armed with the result of the site-wide audit, you will have a much better idea of where your site is lacking and where you need to focus your efforts. On that note, let’s take a look at five reasons why making your website more accessible is good for business.
Reach a wider audience
According to the World Health Organization, more than 1 billion people worldwide live with some form of disability. That’s a lot of people that you could be excluding from your website if you fail to make the necessary provisions. Furthermore, disabled people control a large amount of spending power. In the UK, for example, it’s estimated that disabled people have a collective spending power of £274 billion annually, making the disabled consumer market one of the biggest in the world.
Boost SEO performance
Making your website more accessible can also have a positive impact on your SEO performance. This is because many of the same features that make a site more accessible, also make it more search engine friendly. For example, adding transcripts and alt text can help search engines understand your content better and index it correctly, which can lead to improved organic search visibility and traffic.
Improve brand reputation
Your website is often one of the first places potential customers will go to learn more about your brand and what you have to offer. If they come across an inaccessible site, they’re likely to form a negative opinion of your brand, which could lead them to take their business elsewhere. On the other hand, if you make an effort to ensure that your site is accessible, you could improve your brand reputation and make a lasting impression on potential customers. As a result, a more accessible website may be able to help you attract and retain the best talent while driving home more revenue.
Enhance the user experience
Making your website more accessible can enhance the overall user experience. This is because many of the same features that make a site accessible also make it more user-friendly. For example, adding transcripts and alt text can improve the readability of your content for all users, while ensuring that forms can be completed using a keyboard makes it easier for everyone to input their information.
Similarly, a site that has simple navigation is easier for everyone to use and will likely lead to a greater experience for all visitors to your site. After all, most people do not want complexity – they just want to be able to find what they’re looking for quickly and easily.
Reduce the likelihood of legal complications
Last but not least, it’s important to note that improving the accessibility of your website can help mitigate the likelihood of legal complications. This is because there are a number of laws and regulations in place that require businesses to make their websites accessible. For example, in the United Kingdom, the Equality Act 2010 requires all businesses to take steps to ensure that their website is accessible to disabled users. Those that fail to make adequate provisions could face legal action. Not only could this lead to a financial penalty, but it could also damage your reputation and have a negative impact on your business.
In a world where more than one billion people live with some form of disability, it’s essential for business owners to make their websites accessible. By making straightforward changes, such as adding transcripts, alt text, and simplifying navigation, you can ensure that everyone has the opportunity to learn more about your brand and what you have to offer.
Additionally, making your website more accessible can enhance the user experience for all visitors, improve your SEO performance, and reduce the likelihood of legal complications. And if all of this isn’t enough, just remember that improving accessibility is simply the right thing to do.