When planning a new website build, it’s common to think about design, functionality, and content, but rarely are decision makers thinking about accessibility. As a service business, all of your potential clients need to be able to access and use your website successfully. Implementing the standards of web accessibility is crucial for any business. It can protect you from costly lawsuits, help you pass the ADA compliance audit, increase brand awareness and so much more. Sure, it is bad for business to pay fines for not complying with accessibility standards, but there is a bigger, brighter picture here. Accessibility is actually good for business,
and it makes sense to build your association’s website with accessibility in mind from the start. Web accessibility is much more than a popular trend. It is a doctrine of the 21st century web that every respectful website should follow.
Web page accessibility is more than just plainly accessing and navigating the web. The internet was built on the idea of giving equal opportunity to all users. This revolves around the concept of usability for all, which means that even people with physical impairments can access web content just like people with no disabilities. In an age where the entire world is embracing diversity and fighting for equality, the phrase ‘be kind’ seems to get bounced around on an ever-increasing basis. So we urge you to be kind to your website users and adapt to meet the needs of those who suffer from a range of disabilities like Visual impairments, Deafblindness, Colour blindness, Dyslexia, Hyperlexia, Dyspraxia, ADHD, Speaking English as a second language, Epilepsy, etc. Web accessibility is simply ensuring that the functionality and content of your website can be accessed by all regardless of physical barriers. When you disregard website accessibility’s impact on your bottom line, you’re potentially missing out on tens of millions of website visitors who can’t navigate your site. At the very least, this is bad for business.
Reasons why website accessibility is important for your association
Reaching a Larger Audience
Website accessibility increases your potential audience by including more users. You may be surprised to note that according to the World Health Organization, about 15% of the world’s population has some form of disability. Here are more striking statistics by CDC (Center for Disease Control and Prevention) saying that 26% (1 in 4) adults in the US have some form of disability. Would you leave a quarter of your potential customers outside? The answer seems pretty obvious. It’s important to add here the people who are browsing your website with a slow Internet connection, perceiving your content with a different native language, suffering from a temporary injury, and so on. They all benefit from accessibility too. Features such as adding transcripts and closed captions, support for mobile devices, and site design will be beneficial for all users regardless of any disability.
Accessible websites have Better SEO
This works because search engines rely on text to crawl and evaluate websites. When the text is more organized and understandable, it’s more SEO friendly. It’s also more accessible to persons with disabilities. One of the basic requirements of making a website compliant has to do with providing descriptive text for images. This allows screen readers to describe a webpage to a visually impaired person. This is the same markup used by search engines to crawl a website. A few other examples that illustrate overlap with SEO are providing captions for various forms of multimedia; ensuring headings, links and labels are descriptive; as well as using consistent structure that is easy to interpret. All of these accessibility requirements lead to increased visibility by search engines and better user experience.
You will Minimize Legal Risk
The last reason to build your website with accessibility in mind is quite simple: you have to. Another valid reason why website accessibility is important is that you don’t want to attract lawsuits. They are possible according to the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) whose main principle is that everyone should be provided with equal access and opportunities. Nowadays, it is expected by law that businesses and service providers do not treat disabled people less favourably. So in order to avoid lawsuits, companies are required to adhere to national and
international standards and guidelines.
As you can see, there are plenty of reasons why website accessibility is important for your business. It’s time to make your site accessible.