According to World Health Organization, around 15% of the world’s population has a disability of some kind. That means 1.2 billion people are unable to access digital content the same way as the rest of us. As the internet becomes an increasingly integral part of our daily life, it’s essential we ensure the digital world remains inclusive and accessible. In this blog post, we will discuss why web accessibility matters and how designing user-friendly websites can make a significant difference for people with disabilities. We will also provide guidelines and best practices to help you create accessible websites, as well as highlight some tools and resources to evaluate and improve website accessibility. Lastly, we will look into some real-life examples of companies that have embraced accessible design and the positive impact it has on SEO, brand reputation, and user engagement.
Why web accessibility matters?
Web accessibility means creating websites that people with disabilities can use and navigate without barriers. These disabilities can include visual, auditory, physical, and cognitive impairments. Making your website more accessible ensures that all users, regardless of their abilities, can browse your site, access information, and complete tasks as intended. It’s about providing equal opportunities for everyone. Moreover, increasing accessibility also helps enhance user experience, increases engagement on your website, and supports your SEO efforts.
Guidelines and best practices for designing accessible websites:
Designing an accessible website requires some considerations and guidelines. To begin with, make sure your website is keyboard-friendly. Most Assistive technologies rely on the keyboard, and if users can’t navigate using keyboards alone, they might not be able to use your site. Moreover, ensure your website is navigable and easy to understand for screen readers. Optimize your website for fast loading, as long wait times can make it difficult for users with cognitive challenges to complete tasks. Additionally, choose colors that provide enough contrast, use proper alt texts, and ensure your website’s content is well-organized.
Tools and resources available to evaluate and improve website accessibility:
Several tools and resources are available for evaluating and improving website accessibility. Some popular ones are WAVE (Web Accessibility Evaluation Tool), a Chrome extension that helps reveal accessibility errors on your website, and WebAIM (Web Accessibility In Mind), a powerful accessibility testing tool that scans your website and provides detailed reports on areas that require improvement. Furthermore, WCAG (Web Content Accessibility Guidelines), published by the W3C (The World Wide Web Consortium), is a comprehensive guide for web developers that includes guidelines on creating accessible web content.
Real-life examples of companies that have embraced accessible design and their impact:
Several companies have started to embrace accessible design principles, making their websites more inclusive to all users. For instance, Microsoft has a dedicated Accessibility team, and inclusive design is an essential part of the Windows OS and Office suite. Another example is Airbnb, which implemented image alt texts for all listings and created keyboard-only workflows for their entire website. Lastly, Apple’s iPhone incorporates a wide range of accessibility features, including text-to-speech, speech-to-text, high-contrast mode, and a range of other accessibility options. These are just a few examples of companies that have taken steps towards accessibility, which has also positively impacted their brand reputation and SEO efforts.
Designing an accessible website is not only the right thing to do, but it also makes business sense. Creating a user-friendly and inclusive website enhances user experience, encourages return visits, and supports your SEO efforts. By following the guidelines and best practices for web accessibility, you can increase the reach of your content, improving access for all users, and creating equal opportunities for everyone. So, let’s join the effort towards creating a more inclusive web.