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The Importance of Improving Website Accessibility

by Thomas Bacon
5 min read
Illustration of a website development team at work surrounded by icons representing the components of accessibility improvement.

Making an effort to create a website that is accessible to all visitors not only provides tangible benefits in terms of user experience but also ensures your organization’s commitment to fairness and inclusion. Accessible websites comply with regulations such as the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and allow people of various ages, abilities, and backgrounds to access information on their own terms. In today’s blog post, we will dive into effective practices and tips for improving website accessibility to ensure everyone has a great experience when interacting with your brand online.

Three Key Ways To Improve Accessibility

Ensuring that your website is easily accessible and user-friendly on mobile devices is crucial. There are a variety of methods to optimize your website’s mobility, but three key strategies include:

Alt text is essential for describing the content of images to users who may have accessibility needs. Similarly, sufficient color contrast makes your website more legible and easier to navigate. Lastly, providing alternative versions of video or audio content, such as text transcripts or captioning, ensures that all users can engage with your website’s content. These simple yet effective techniques will help you create a more mobile-friendly website that caters to a wider audience.

What Makes a Website Accessible, and Why Is It Important?

Ensuring a website is accessible involves several factors – all dependent on the needs of its users. An accessible website should allow all users – including those with temporary or permanent impairments – to access all its services easily. Whether it’s a bright sunny day that makes it hard to view your phone screen or a more advanced visual impairment, accessibility issues can arise in various scenarios. Ultimately, an accessible website is one that lacks any blockades that could prevent users from accessing its services, purchasing its products, or using its content. In essence, accessibility equals the absence of barriers.

Having an accessible website is not only important for legal requirements, but it also has a direct impact on your bottom line. However, from a personal standpoint, those are not the most important reasons. The most important are related to access and equity. Ultimately as a business owner you have to ask yourself “Do we want to exclude people from our products and services and what does that say about us as a company?” Exclusion results in a missed opportunity to create a more equitable and inclusive culture.

One in four Americans has a disability – making accessibility essential for them, but still beneficial for all users. Implementing best practices for accessibility, such as adjustable zoom ratios, ultimately helps everyone. As stated by the Web Accessibility Initiative (WAI) – accessibility is helpful for everyone but essential for some. It’s like the potato peeler originally designed for people with arthritis and difficulties with fine motor skills that ended up simply being easier for everyone to use. When aiming to create a welcoming and inclusive culture, accessibility should apply to all users who access your website. By prioritizing accessibility, your company can better serve all customers and demonstrate a commitment to social responsibility.

Does Accessibility Have an Effect on SEO?

Not only does accessibility benefit everyone but it also has positive implications for search engine optimization (SEO). In fact, many accessibility best practices are also considered best practices for SEO. A website that prioritizes accessibility is also more technically sound and better equipped for SEO. Semantic HTML, which describes the content and structure of a website, is essential for both accessibility and SEO. By labeling elements like navigation and headings, screen reader users can better navigate the site, and search engines can better understand the relative importance of each component on a page. Additionally, providing accurate and descriptive alt text for images improves both image SEO and accessibility.

What Are Some Important Accessibility Features?

To make your website accessible to a broader audience, there are several essential features to incorporate. This includes providing keyboard-only navigation, creating a proper structural layout, and using semantic HTML with appropriate tag usage. Additionally, implementing Accessible Rich Internet Application (ARIA) code supports screen readers and helps provide the appropriate context.

Ensuring accessibility and visibility are also important aspects of website design. One of the ways to achieve this is by paying attention to contrast between foreground and background elements. This not only helps your audience navigate your website with ease but also makes your content visible in various weather conditions. Another often overlooked aspect is typography, which can cause difficulties for users with dyslexia. Therefore, it’s essential to choose fonts that are easy to read. Additionally, consider color blindness by using accessibility testing programs to confirm your website’s compatibility. By incorporating these features, you can ensure that your website is accessible and available to all users.

Does Your Website Meet Accessibility Requirements?

Ensuring that your website is accessible can be a challenging task. While there are quality tools available such as WebAIM and Axe that can help diagnose technical issues on a page-by-page basis, it’s important to remember that real user testing is essential. Accessibility can be complex, so the more effort you put in during initial design and development, the better. You can either select a vendor with an accessible template or ensure that your programmers code with accessibility in mind from the get go. This will set you up for success and make it easier to add content in the future. It’s worth remembering that the process of achieving accessibility can be time-consuming and complex, so it’s best to bring in a professional from the start to ensure that your website is built with accessibility standards in mind.

The Wrap-Up

The advantages of making your website more accessible are numerous: an enhanced user experience, improved SEO and customer satisfaction, reduced risk of legal action, and – most importantly – greater inclusivity. Furthermore, making a website more accessible can be done relatively easily with the right guidance. Implementing alt text for images, ensuring sufficient color contrast, and providing alternative versions of multimedia content are some basic steps that will get you on the path to accessibility. All these measures demonstrate social responsibility to customers who rely on accessibility features as well as those who don’t – everyone benefits from improved usability due to better accessibility practices. If you’re ready to incorporate these techniques into your site to make it more user friendly for everyone, contact Workhorse today and tap into our expertise!

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