For people with disabilities, web accessibility is highly beneficial. They use multiple assistive technology tools that often require accessible web design and apps to function properly.
It is obvious how web accessibility benefits users with disabilities, but what about businesses? What are the advantages of building accessible sites for your company? Keep reading, and you'll discover seven key benefits of making your website ADA-compliant.
Why do companies hesitate to invest in web accessibility?
A survey of around 500 U.S. business leaders and web designers shows the main reasons behind the reluctance of some companies to make a website accessible. Most of the respondents confessed they are worried about the financial investments and potentially high costs (73.6%), while 66.9% think optimizing their sites for accessibility will require too much time.
We are here to tell you that making your website accessible for people with disabilities doesn't require too many resources, will highly benefit the user experience, and most probably keep you away from web accessibility lawsuits.
7 Benefits of Making Your Website Accessible
1. Increased traffic on your site.
There's a myth regarding accessible websites that says accessibility only benefits the visitors. However, by improving the user experience and making it accessible for anyone, you plant the seeds for:
- Higher traffic rates on your site
- Better user engagement
- Improved search engine optimization rankings
- Higher conversion rate
2. Lower risk of legal complications.
As legal requirements regarding web accessibility are getting tougher, optimizing your site for people with disabilities becomes non-optional—unless you don't mind being prosecuted. Make sure your site meets specific accessibility guidelines and pay attention to the accessibility standards required by the industry that you're operating in.
3. Bigger customer base.
Making your website accessible means addressing the needs of bigger social groups, and that, in the long term, could lead to you growing your customer base. By investing in accessible design, you can attract more visitors that are likely to engage with your brand on a long-term basis.
4. A more innovative business mindset.
Building accessible design for your website visitors challenges you to deal with unanticipated issues and thus puts your creativity at work.
The constraint of adapting your design so that it incorporates a whole set of accessibility features challenges you to... come up with innovative solutions—and to preserve that mindset for innovation in the long term.
In the current dynamic digital landscape, staying creative and ready for innovation is key to keep up with the ever-changing trends.
5. Boosted SEO efforts.
You can improve your site's accessibility by adding ALT-text to images, writing clear content, or choosing a clutter-free page layout. All of these steps also mean good SEO practices.
So, by making your website more accessible, you're also making it more SEO-friendly.
You probably already know the importance of investing in robust SEO strategies in today's digital landscape. It's all about how high you rank on SERPs and the level of visibility that your website is gaining.
6. Improved brand reputation.
Accessibility is also essential for your business as it helps grow your brand reputation.
By ensuring your website's universal design grants equal rights and easy access to your content, you raise awareness and build a positive reputation around your business.
Today, having an inaccessible website is the digital equivalent of sticking a big KEEP OUT sign in front of your business.
7. Faster page loading time.
It has been proven that if you improve a page's level of accessibility, you boost its speed score.
As modern internet users demand fast website experiences, you want to improve your page loading times to keep up with your visitors' needs.
By implementing features designed for users with disabilities, you're making your site a better place for all users.
How to Make Your Website Accessible
Here are some tips and best practices for web accessibility:
Use semantic HTML: Structure your web pages using appropriate HTML elements. Use headings, paragraphs, lists, and other semantic elements to provide a clear and logical structure.
Provide alternative text for images: Use the alt attribute to describe the content of images. This helps users with visual impairments understand the purpose or context of the image.
Use descriptive link text: Make sure your hyperlinks convey their purpose and destination. Avoid generic phrases like "click here" or "read more." Instead, use descriptive text that indicates where the link leads.
Ensure keyboard accessibility: Ensure that all functionality on your website can be accessed and operated using a keyboard alone. This is crucial for users who cannot use a mouse or other pointing devices.
Use color with care: Avoid relying solely on color to convey information. Ensure that color contrast between text and background is sufficient to be easily readable. Use other visual cues, such as icons or labels, in addition to color.
Provide captions and transcripts for multimedia: If you have videos or audio content, provide captions and transcripts to make them accessible to users who are deaf or hard of hearing. This also benefits users in environments where audio cannot be played.
Design for resizable text: Ensure that your website can accommodate users who need to increase the size of text for readability. Avoid using fixed font sizes and use relative units (e.g., percentages, em, rem) instead.
Make forms accessible: Use proper form labels, field sets, and legend elements to provide context and instructions for form inputs. Use error messages and alerts that are clearly perceivable by screen readers.
Provide clear and consistent navigation: Make sure your website has a logical and consistent navigation structure. Use descriptive labels for navigation menus and provide a way to skip repetitive navigation elements for screen reader users.
Test for accessibility: Regularly test your website using accessibility evaluation tools and assistive technologies. Conduct user testing with people with disabilities to get firsthand feedback on the accessibility of your site.
Stay up-to-date: Keep up with the latest web accessibility guidelines, standards, and best practices. Currently, the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.1 and 2.2 are widely accepted as the standard for web accessibility.
Hopefully, this article sheds some light on the importance of web accessibility for your business and how building a universal design for your site can positively impact your brand.
For more insights on how Optasy can help you make your website more accessible, check out our Drupal Website Accessibility services.
Photo credit: Unsplash.
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