“Beyond Compliance: The Benefits of Web Accessibility for Your Users and Your Business” explores the importance of web accessibility and its impact on both users and businesses. Web accessibility ensures that all users, including those with disabilities, can access and navigate a website easily. By prioritizing accessibility, businesses can enhance the user experience, expand their audience reach, improve search performance, avoid legal implications, reflect their brand’s values, future-proof their website, encourage innovation, and increase conversions. Incorporating web accessibility into a core web strategy requires education and training, regular audits, prioritizing accessibility in design and development, staying updated with standards and guidelines, and utilizing accessibility tools. By making accessibility a habit, businesses can create a more inclusive digital environment and strengthen their online presence.
Beyond Compliance: The Benefits of Web Accessibility for Your Users and Your Business
Web accessibility is a fundamental part of web strategy, ensuring that your website is accessible and usable by all users, including those with disabilities. This impacts every aspect of your website from design to the way it’s coded, and even how your content is written and structured.
Connecting the dots between accessibility, usability, and profit is simple. The more accessible you make your website, the easier it is for users to navigate. The easier your website is to navigate, the faster they’ll learn about your product or service. The faster they learn about your product or service, the more likely they are to convert.
Accessible web strategy is good web strategy. Period.
What is web accessibility?
Web accessibility refers to the design and development practices that make your website usable by everyone, regardless of disabilities or impairments.
By adhering to web accessibility best practices, those with disabilities are able to perceive, understand, navigate, and interact with your website efficiently without facing significant hurdles. By prioritizing web accessibility, businesses commit to removing barriers and creating an inclusive digital environment, promoting equal access and opportunity for all users.
Let’s talk about why incorporating accessibility into your core web strategy can enhance your website’s user experience and benefit your business.
The benefits of better accessibility
Enhance usability for all
Better usability for those with disabilities is the number one most important benefit of keeping accessibility top of mind. When websites are designed for accessibility, it often results in improved usability for all of your users.
Leaning into best practices like simple navigation, clear typography, and well-structured content is good for everyone, whether they are disabled or not.
Expand your audience reach
Approximately 15% of the global population experiences some form of disability. By ensuring web accessibility, you tap into a larger user base.
It’s not just about those with permanent disabilities, either; consider individuals with temporary impairments, such as a broken arm, or situational impairments, like browsing in bright sunlight.
Accessible web experiences ensure that your website is usable by everyone, no matter their situation.
Better search performance
Accessible websites tend to rank better in search engines than those that lack compliance. This is most likely due to the fact that these websites use semantic HTML, include alt tags on images, and prioritize clear heading structures. Each of those items happen to be best practices for both search engine optimization (SEO) and accessibility.
Avoid legal implications
Many countries have enacted laws and regulations, such as the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG), that require websites to be accessible. Non-compliance can result in legal repercussions and significant financial penalties.
Reflect your brand’s values
An inclusive web strategy signals that your brand cares about every user, reinforcing trust and loyalty. It demonstrates corporate responsibility and ethical behavior. If your organization boasts a commitment to diversity and doesn’t have an accessible website, you’re not living your true values.
Future-proof your website
The future of the web is unpredictable, but one thing that we know is that the world is moving towards greater inclusivity. By making accessibility a core strategy now, you’re laying a strong foundation for future developments, technologies, and optimization.
Thinking inclusively can drive innovation. By considering the diverse needs of your user base, you might discover new methods or tools that can elevate their experience. Creating accessible digital experiences forces you to produce refined work that continuously pushes you closer to greatness and a seamless user experience.
Accessible websites can lead to broader customer engagement, more return visits, and increased conversions and sales. On the contrary, inaccessible websites risk a loss in revenue, potential public relations issues, and legal issues.
Integrating accessibility into your web strategy
Web accessibility is layered and involves input from different teams throughout an organization. Making the pledge to become more compliant could lead to drastic changes like a website redesign or the creation of brand-new copy.
Here’s how to make accessibility a habit:
- Educate and train: Ensure your team understands the importance of web accessibility. Provide training and resources to keep everyone updated, especially people working in design, development, and content writing.
- Perform audits: Regularly audit your website for accessibility issues using automated tools and manual testing.
- Incorporate user feedback: Actively seek feedback from users, especially those with disabilities, and adjust your web strategy accordingly.
- Prioritize accessibility in design and development: Make accessibility a fundamental piece of criteria during the design and development phases of web projects.
- Stay updated: Web accessibility standards and guidelines evolve. Make a habit of staying updated and refining your strategy over time.
Accessibility tools that can help
WAVE Website Accessibility Evaluation Tool
WAVE, created by WebAIM, is a comprehensive tool designed to help identify and address web accessibility issues. Available as browser extensions for Chrome and Firefox, WAVE evaluates web pages by overlaying them with intuitive icons and indicators highlighting potential accessibility concerns.
It allows users to assess pages directly, ensuring data privacy, and provides detailed explanations for identified issues. This is a great tool to send to your designers and developers as pages are being created or to use while conducting an accessibility audit.
accessiBe is an AI-powered web accessibility tool designed to help businesses automate and achieve compliance with various accessibility standards, including ADA and WCAG.
The platform automatically scans and adjusts websites to accommodate users with a range of impairments, including visual, hearing, and motor difficulties. Additional features include screen reader optimization, keyboard navigation enhancements, and adjustments for color contrast and fonts.
This is a great tool for web managers who are short-staffed and don’t have the time or resources to comb through and update their website manually. It also gives users more autonomy when it comes to how they browse your website.
Accessible Web Contrast Checker
The Accessible Web Contrast Checker allows designers to quickly decipher whether the colors they’re using in their designs are WCAG compliant. This simple tool allows you to drop in the foreground and background color and instantly receive the contrast ratio. It also tells you whether the colors are AA or AAA compliant.
Summing it up
It shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone that making your website accessible is the best thing you can do for all users. Web accessibility allows you to demonstrate your dedication to inclusivity as an organization, and makes it easier for every type of user to access the vital information that your website provides. Without web accessibility, you’re alienating an entire group of users who could benefit from your product or service, and risking legal and financial implications.
Start your journey to better accessibility today and help create a more inclusive digital world.