What is web accessibility? In this article, Global Wizards shares all you need to know to adapt your website and make it user-friendly.
Also known as eAccessibility, the term refers to ensuring that everyone has access to the same information no matter whether they have some disabilities or not.
When we talk about disabilities, either permanent or temporary, we refer to four major groups: physical, sensory, intellectual and mental illnesses. Age can also be a barrier to fulfilling senior citizens’ needs.
To put it in numbers, around 15% of the world’s population experience some kind of disability and 19% of that group are located in the US, according to a survey carried out by The World Bank.
Websites today represent an essential source of information, entertainment and communication which is why everyone should have access to it. The importance of web accessibility can not be underestimated and should be a major concern for modern businesses mainly because the web is where people do most of their daily tasks: from sharing moments with friends to applying for jobs or booking vacations.
4 Common Misconceptions About Web Accessibility
Many web designers or web development professionals usually fail to make their products accessible for users because they believe in myths or inaccurate old ideas. We’ve listed 4 of them:
- It’s ugly
There are some web accessibility guidelines that will probably have an impact on the overall look of a website, however, some improvements -like adding alternative texts for images- won’t really have a noticeable effect on it –and it helps blind people, in that case-.
Using today’s technology, it’s easier to create interactive and engaging web designs that are both creative as well as inclusive for people with different needs.
- No one cares
Companies, in general, don’t invest time or money in making their websites accessible because they believe that people with impairments represent a small part of their audience. They forget that there are lots of users who are not considered “traditionally” disabled that would prefer visiting accessible websites.
Think about what happens in real life: a ramp can be used by both a person in a wheelchair and a person pushing a stroller. Now let’s take that example and think about a similar one in the digital world: An accessible website design is useful for blind people and people who suffer from migraine and is unable to stand bright colors.
- It is not worth the cost nor the time spent on it
Building a website and trying to incorporate accessibility requires time and knowledge. Sometimes the design and the development phases take longer, but it is totally worth it because from a SEO perspective, having an accessible website will position your brand above the rest because search engines use screen readers, that is to say, special robots that only understand texts.
- It is optional
It really isn’t. In most countries, there are non-discrimination laws and regulations that protect people with disabilities from discrimination which means that companies should provide web accessibility design to avoid being sued.
In the U.S, the number of website accessibility lawsuits keeps increasing every year and companies spend millions of dollars to settle.
3 reasons why you should care about eAccessibility
The United States has listed all the accessibility requirements in the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), which was instituted in 1990. Its purpose is to end discrimination based on differing abilities. It claims all sorts of institutions and organizations to provide equal-access accommodations.
In 2010, the ADA Standards for Accessible Design was published and included computer hardware, software and documentation.
Businesses that care about people with impairments gain a good reputation and benefit from it. All the efforts to build a fully accessible website or app impact positively on the corporate image of the company.
Accessibility improvements will attract new customers and increase conversions. By recognizing the needs and desires of those with disabilities, you are telling them that their rights matter.
Web accessibility best practices
- Follow web accessibility guidelines
There are international guidelines for developers, designers and experts that explain how to build accessible websites according to shared standards.
- Check online tools with an assistive technology
Online tools will help you check if a website has accessibility issues. However, you might find it useful to use online tools together with assistive technology -like a screen reader- to evaluate accessibility on a website.
- User testing
Before launching a new web page or app, you should obtain feedback from people with disabilities to see if their user experience in the testing process is really enjoyable.
In order to ensure an effective experience for everyone, work together with a professional UX designer who will create accurate test scenarios depending on different types of impairments.
Let’s go Global!
A big part of the world’s population faces different challenges when it comes to navigating the web or using mobile apps due to permanent or temporary disabilities. To create a truly immersive experience for all customers, you need to address their needs. It is not a simple task but Global Wizards is ready to give you a hand.
Our company will help your business embrace and recognize the importance of accessibility. We guarantee you will soon notice an increment in web traffic and conversions. By making your website accessible you will provide every visitor with a better user experience which will lead to an increment in conversion rates.
Global Wizards is a digital marketing agency that offers web development services for companies that need to improve web accessibility. Take a look at Señas En Acción and how our team helped them achieve their goal!