There is no doubt that the conversations around accessibility have increased over the past months and years, and this is the case for the digital world just as it is for the real world. Therefore, if you run a business or a website, you need to make sure that you have factored accessibility into it. There are plenty of diverse reasons why this is the case, but we will be examining just a few of them in a higher level of detail right here and now.
Reach a Wider Customer Base
If you thought that accessibility issues were only confined to a small percentage of the population, it is actually over a third around the world who live with some sort of disability. Therefore, if you do not have an accessible website to showcase, you will inevitably be restricting a large percentage of these people. In fact, many of the accessibility tweaks that you can make do not have to be overly complicated, but if you overlook them entirely, this can easily lead to a situation in which you are leaving people out for no reason whatsoever.
Ensure That You Are Compliant with the Law
When you are running a business, you certainly do not want to create any more legal headaches for yourself than are strictly necessary. You can learn more about the issue of website compliance, which will help to ensure that you are not creating any unnecessary obstacles for yourself. It is likely that these laws will become even more stringent in the future as people become more and more aware of disabilities and the obstacles that exist preventing people from living the ordinary lives that they would like to.
It Is a Moral Responsibility
The next potential issue that you have in front of you is not one that is all about business. Instead, you need to think about things from a moral perspective as well. If you are aware of accessibility issues but you are not doing anything about it on your own website, you are contributing to a more widespread issue that is causing a problem for people all over the world. If you would like to boast about your credentials as a company that takes its corporate social responsibility seriously, you should certainly make sure that accessibility comes right towards the top of your to-do list.
Boost Your SEO Efforts
Making sure that your website is as visible as possible on the major search engines is another important part of running a successful company. In fact, many of the updates and improvements that you can make to a site will have a naturally beneficial impact on your search engine optimization as well. There are several steps that you can take in order to make these twin efforts successful. First of all, you can ensure that your content is structured properly. This allows it to be easily processed by people with visual impairments and search engines alike. You can also put in place some descriptive alternative text for images, ensuring that your site can be ‘read’ from a visual perspective as well. Beyond this, putting in anchor text for links, building a clear sitemap, and ensuring that closed captions are available on video files and call help out.
Improve the User Experience for Everyone
In fact, many of the best practices for an accessible website can help to improve the overall user experience anyway. This means that the changes that you are making are beneficial for everyone involved. For example, one of the general rules of thumb is to not make the contrast between the text and the background too strong, which helps people with visual impairment but also helps your site to be more easily digested by everyone who looks at it. While putting closed captions on your video files may be generally more useful for those who have hearing impairment, some people will watch videos like this when they are in a situation in which turning up the sound is not a viable option.
Help Out the Mobile Viewing Experience
More and more people are accessing the internet using their smartphones in the modern world, so you certainly want a website that is easy to use on smaller devices. When you are putting in place accessibility features on a site, this helps to improve the overall experience when using it on a smaller screen. As our reliance on smartphones becomes greater and greater, it certainly seems more and more likely that ensuring that your site is easily digested on these devices will be more of a pressing issue. With this in mind, it is worth making the necessary changes sooner rather than later.
Avoid Any Negative PR
In the modern world, any negative press that your business experiences can quite quickly spread on social media. Therefore, you do not want to give any unnecessary ammunition that causes a problem. As well as being able to avoid any potentially negative PR, you can also generate some positive coverage by showing that you have taken your responsibilities towards accessibility seriously.
Create a Better All-Round Website
If your website can long be used by a particular group of people, it is not as strong as it possibly could be. For this reason, it is worth having your website tested by people with accessibility issues. This way, you can identify what you have got right, as well as many of the improvements that can be made along the way. In the future, it is likely that other accessibility issues will be identified, and it makes sense that you are flexible and adaptable to implement any changes as and when they are required.
All of these reasons add up and make it clear why an accessible website is such an important requirement in the modern world. So, now is the time to make the necessary changes that can really make a big different to your site and your business as a whole.