Ensuring that digital experiences remain accessible to all people has become a primary tenet of the industry in the same way physical experiences do. Various assistive technologies and solutions like an audio description for accessibility for the visually impaired are increasingly becoming commonplace in business today. After all, they don’t just benefit people with disabilities. They’re advantageous for businesses as well. But, more importantly, it’s the law.
However, before we cover strategies and techniques to make your applications or websites more accessible, we’ll talk about the reasons why you should adopt practices and technologies that promote accessibility for your entrepreneurial venture first.
Everyone understands by now the legal ramifications associated with the non-compliance of accessibility laws. However, it also affects the reputation of a business more than people realize. After all, if your company fails to enable those with disabilities, it may send the wrong signal to your intended audience. And you’re likely to lose some of your existing customers, if not fail to attract new ones, affecting your bottom line as a result.
On the other hand, good accessibility practices can have a positive impact on your business. Apart from tapping into the sizable market of disabled people, you’ll also put your company in an excellent position. This, in turn, should help you draw in your target customers and get ahead of your competition.
Another benefit of digital accessibility is inclusivity. A business that fails to make its content and offerings more accessible is likely to miss out on the opportunity of engaging individuals who may otherwise contribute to its sales more than those that do.
In addition, with a considerable population of the world suffering from various disabilities, ranging from deafness to vision impairment, a business can significantly increase its customer base by adopting accessibility technologies and strategies.
- Search engine optimization
SEO or search engine optimization has changed and is continuously evolving. The algorithms behind many search engines are getting smarter and no longer fall for Blackhat techniques like keyword stuffing and content automation. Nowadays, it aims to deliver the best results, and an integral part of it is the user experience. Because accessibility is tied closely with how people interact with websites, you’ll effectively improve your SEO efforts by making your online domain more accessible.
- It’s the right way
Having accessibility options for those who may be restricted due to a condition or illness is the right way to go. Just as you would open a door for the elderly, you’ll want to give the less fortunate the same kind of courtesy, especially if they want to engage with your business.
Digital accessibility tips
Now that we’ve laid out the importance of having an accessible website, the next thing we’ll discuss are some practical strategies that will ensure that those suffering from disabilities can easily access your online domain. Here are a few tips that should help you get started:
Select an appropriate content management system. There are various content management platforms available that can enable brands, individuals, and organizations to create their websites. These include but aren’t necessarily limited to WordPress and Drupal.
However, before you commit to one, you’ll want to ensure that it supports accessibility. So be sure to consult their documentation first. It may sound like a lot of additional work, and in reality, it is. However, it will save you from a lot of hassle when you begin incorporating elements to make your content more accessible.
Make use of headings. It’s a good idea to use headings to organize your content’s structure because screen readers can also utilize them to navigate the material. However, make sure that you comply with the right order of the headings and keep structure and presentation separated through Cascading Style Sheets or CSS. Don’t just select one because of its aesthetics alone, or you’ll just create confusion for people using screen readers. Instead, generate new CSS classes to help you style the text.
Incorporate alt text for your images – These days, more and more websites use alt text for their images since it enables those who rely on screen readers to understand what the message of the pictures on the Web page is communicating to the user.
This can be especially crucial for infographics and other informative images. However, there are exceptions that you’ll need to consider, like visual elements that are meant to be decorative. In these cases, it’s best to leave them empty to ensure that users don’t get distracted by unimportant material.
Choose colors carefully. Color deficiency is a disability that affects a sizable population, specifically for red and green combinations. You’ll want to consider the colors you choose because you could potentially prevent these people from accessing your web pages as intended.
There are also people with learning disabilities who can benefit from the right colors when it comes to distinguishing and understanding the content. To satisfy these groups, you must assess color contrast and use those that will assist them in navigating through your website.
Enable access for alternative devices. Those who have restrictive movements or disabilities with their mobility may not be able to make use of a trackpad or mouse. Due to this, the only feasible way that they may be able to browse through a website is using their keyboard, specifically with the arrow keys or the alt and tab combination.
Some might make use of alternative devices that function as mouth sticks or single-switch inputs. With that said, it’s imperative that you enable access through these means when browsing your website. It will make a difference in the experience of those with disabilities.
It comes as no surprise that more and more businesses are incorporating technology and practices on accessibility into their digital domains. It can benefit them in more ways than one when you get right down to it. So make sure that you do the same and give those who may have unfortunate restrictions access to your online environment.