The internet is for the people, by the people. In a growing space where everyone is welcome and inclusivity is the key, web accessibility is one of the most viable marketing strategies. Web accessibility removes barriers for people who have their own challenges in the world, regardless of disability, language, or cognitive abilities.
With that said, not every online brand in the world understands the value of web accessibility. Here’s why it matters and how you can use it for your business to create a more inclusive, more connected internet.
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What is Web Accessibility?
So, what is web accessibility? The term web accessibility refers to the ability of an internet-connected system like a website or an app and its ability to give everyone access to the same information. The entire sentence feels trite without context, but not all people process information the same.
People experience some form of disability everywhere in the world. Some have physical impairments, while others have cognitive issues that prevent them from parsing the same information. This can come from different sources, from user interface issues to user experience issues. Even with AI in the workplace, not everyone can navigate the same website properly.
Web accessibility aims to set standards and protocols that will help everyone receive equal access and equal opportunity online. These come in several forms, depending on the organization. As not everyone reaps the same benefits from the internet, these set of protocols are there to create more egalitarian internet access.
Some disabilities that these protocols look to address include:
- Visual impairments
- Auditory impairments
- Disabilities that need special assistive tools online
- Motor impairments
- Neurological impairments
- Accessibility issues coming from low-speed internet access
Several legislations have pushed for better web accessibility as some websites are not friendly to people with challenges to their access. These protocols should help ease their pain, if not improve their quality of browsing altogether.
Why Is Web Accessibility Important?
The importance of web accessibility for apps and websites become a crucial point for the internet as a whole. For years, the internet crowd fought for progressive ideals that allowed equal access to amenities. Whether it’s equal marriage for all or net neutrality, it’s our moral imperative to help those who have more challenges than us.
As the internet becomes more ingrained into our daily lives, it’s crucial that you add features that remove common barriers for use. You want anyone who’s willing to visit your site to perceive it as you intended, and for you as a business to make sure this is viable for the differently-abled.
If you’re wondering why there’s not a lot of talk about web accessibility online, it’s a matter of cost vs benefit and the lack of information on the matter. In many situations, web administrators don’t care about any feature that does not move the needle in their Google Analytics.
Everything is about statistics and the number of add-ons needed to make a website accessible doesn’t affect vanity metrics. In some situations, adding visual accessibility options can even hit your important analytics like page load speed and more.
Understanding Web Content Accessibility Guidelines
Web accessibility offers several benefits to businesses, especially if you follow Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG). Among these guidelines, you’ll find that it works well with Section 508 of the Workforce Rehabilitation Act of 1973.
Section 508 works as an amendment clause that underscores having technology that works well for those with disabilities. The guideline organizes itself into a checklist of sorts, and while it might look overwhelming at first glance, you don’t need everything in it.
The WCAG scores compliant businesses into A, AA, or AAA, with AAA being the highest score. AAA is generally reserved for dedicated software that mostly caters to people with disabilities.
What Determines Your WCAG Score?
The guidelines listed by the WCAG revolve around fulfilling principles. These are:
Information on the UI and UX must be easily understandable, from easily identifying the page language and other forms of content on the page. Information should also be easy to perceive, with text, images, and videos being easy to see with whatever visual setup the user has.
The user interface should also be operable and easy to navigate, with functionality accessible via keyboard. Finally, you want your information to be robust – easy to interface with and without any issue on any device.
What Are The Benefits of Following Web Accessibility Guidelines?
Web accessibility offers several benefits both on the business side of your website, as well as the ethical side. People with disabilities will be able to enjoy the full benefits of your website’s content, as well as products and services.
For starters, you can avoid legislation that punishes websites and digital technologies for discrimination. There are many legal complaints towards several technologies due to their lack of features that should help the disabled use the technology.
In addition, you can reach a much wider audience with better web accessibility, considering you’re not excluding people with physical and cognitive challenges. By making sure that people with disabilities are able to buy your products and services online, you can help increase your sales and improve your conversions.
In this digital age, many consumers are also into digital activism, supporting companies that espouse progressive and inclusive design. Proper web accessibility should give you a positive brand image and people with disabilities will be more willing to work with your business.
Web accessibility also works hand in hand with the principles of both SEO and usability. Remember that if a website or software is more accessible to someone with a disability, people with no hindrances will likely have a much better experience.
The Bottom Line
Web accessibility is an important part of the future. As the internet is quickly becoming the center of human interaction and commerce, it’s vital to leave nobody behind. Website and software design that allows everyone to perceive the same information equally makes the internet a better place.
Does your website have accessibility options? If yes, you’re going to reap a lot of the benefits of this inclusive design and user experience. If not, it’s high time to apply accessibility tools to your web pages. A good, accessible internet can be an indicator of your business growth.
About The Author:
Kat is a Molecular Biology Scientist turned Growth Marketing Scientist. During her free time, she loves to write articles that will bring delight, empower women, and spark the business mind. She loves to bake but unfortunately, baking doesn’t love her back. She has many things in her arsenal and writing is one of her passion projects.