Website accessibility is important, plain and simple. There are more than a few reasons why, many of which can directly benefit your business. Besides that, website accessibility is mandated by law depending on your location, sector, and size of your business (most often, if you have over 50 employees).
It’s The Right Thing To Do
The first and most obvious reason to make your website accessible is because nothing should be off-limits to someone simply because they live with a disability. Our society has made great strides in making the world accessible and that should extend to the virtual world.
However, this is one of the fantastic times when doing the right thing isn’t really a sacrifice. Thanks to the next couple of reasons, accessibility benefits you as much as it will the user who needs it.
Accessible = User Friendly
Better accessibility for those who need it translates to a better user experience for those who don’t.
The easiest way to think about this is by breaking up people into three categories.
Someone with permanent auditory, cognitive, neurological, physical, speech, or visual impairment.
Someone with a temporary impairment like a broken arm or lost glasses.
Someone with a sense being impaired simply based on where they are, like bright sunlight or a loud environment.
For example, by adding subtitles to a video, you have now made it accessible for someone who sits in the first two groups, like someone who is hearing impaired. At the same time, you have also made it easier to watch the video for the person in a loud bar.
This one also taps into the SEO benefits (which we’ll dive into later), but another example is adding proper descriptive alt text for images. This allows certain users who might need this text to more easily access your website. It also makes things easier for Google to crawl and index your site!
It Increases Your Reputation
Have accessibility options or AODA compliance before you’re actually mandated to do so. It helps build a sense of trust and social responsibility with your consumers. It lets them know that you care about things like this before the government steps in and tells you “you need to care about this”.
Google Will Like You
Search Engine Optimization (or SEO) is most likely a term you’ve heard before, and might even know a few things that go into making your site friendly for search engines.
While keywords, metadata, and the like, are all important for SEO, Google cares a lot about what users actually do on your website. If people are visiting your site and leaving within 10 seconds because it’s hard to navigate and inaccessible, you’ll be punished.
When building a website, accessibility and user experience should be top of mind. The other stuff doesn’t matter if you prop your site up with unstable foundations.