Why is Accessibility Important?
“We don’t serve anyone with a disability”
“We can’t afford it”
“We’ll just use an automated checker, plug-in, or an overlay”
These misguided ideas about accessibility are harming your brand and your SEO. Ensuring your website is accessible to everyone will open your business to a larger audience. The benefits to accessibility are endless! In online design, accessibility is becoming more important. Accessibility is also known as a11y since there are 11 characters between A and Y.
Twenty percent of Americans have a visual, auditory, ambulatory, neurological or cognitive disability. 71% of disabled users will leave a website if it’s not accessible. While you may not assume anyone in your target audience is impaired, many disabilities are not immediately apparent. Ensuring your website is accessible to everyone will open your business to a larger audience.
The Benefits of Accessibility
- Improves overall SEO performance
- Faster page load times
- Properly formatted content means AI search engine can find it
- Improves the lives of people with disabilities
- Builds positive public relations
- Increases brand awareness and sales
- Opens your business to a wider audience
- Provides a better user experience for ALL visitors on all devices.
Poor accessibility can range from not assisting the blind to not having a “Review your order” page before payment confirmation. The benefits to accessibility are endless!
Accessibility Is an Ongoing Process
Accessibility is a process – not a project. A website’s accessibility status can deteriorate over time. It is very important to weave accessibility into each stage of the business. There are advantages to incorporating inclusive design principles from the start.
Here are 3 Pro Tips for Creating Mindful Content for Your Audience With a Disability
1. Create <alt> tags for images and graphics
Describe your images, graphs, and tables for someone who is using a screen reader. Also provide closed captions or a transcript for videos.
2. Follow a linear layout when adding new information to your site.
Does the information align with the page? What is the user’s journey to arrive on this page? Using logic to make sure the content is readable and functionality is predictable, especially when someone is relying on a screen reader.
3. Use proper headings.
Make sure each page has a <H1> and follows the correct heading sequence (Next H2, then H3). Screen readers rely on headings to convey the correct content in the correct order. Properly structured headings also boost SEO!
Rules and Regulations
The rules and requirements for website accessibility are a bit of a gray area. It is the responsibility of a business owner to determine whether their company is included under Section 508 or Title III of the Americans with Disabilities Act. Keep in mind that the law does not specify how you should be accessible, only who should be. When businesses have been sued for violating the ADA in the past, the court has been satisfied by a website that adheres to WCAG AA.
It’s no secret that legal bills are costly. But how much does it cost to be accessible? In terms of accessibility, there is no such thing as a “one size fits all” solution. Don’t worry, the penguins have got you covered! An audit may be the first step in making a website accessible. But there are many steps we can take during design, development, and content to prepare the website for a successful audit.
There are a number of ways Iceberg can assist without requiring a complete overhaul. When your company sees an opportunity for a complete redesign, accessibility should be a prime concern.
Who Is Responsible for Accessibility?
Everyone is responsible for a11y. At Iceberg, it is our job to integrate accessibility into all aspects of our process—content, design, development, and testing. We’re also Web developers who answer the phone! We are still available for support after we hand over a completed site to you. Contact us today!