So many factors go into creating the best website for your business, but one crucial aspect that many website owners overlook is website accessibility.
Neglecting website accessibility makes it harder for potential customers to interact with your company and products online. Poor accessibility can also violate regulations such as the 2010 ADA Standards for Accessible Design in some enterprises. However, even organizations without a regulatory obligation can improve their SEO strategy and user experience by making their websites compliant with accessibility standards.
Digital inclusion is on the rise, and with one in four American adults living with a disability, it is more important than ever to ensure that all customers have access to information and communication tools online.
“Digital inclusion is about including disabled people in the digital world, and it is so vital for participation, diversity, civil rights,” Lainey Feingold, a disability-rights lawyer, and author, told the Wall Street Journal.
Website accessibility is as simple as it sounds — creating a website that is easily used by people with visual, auditory, cognitive, and neurological disabilities. According to the White House accessibility statement, the goal is “to ensure all functionality and all content is accessible to all Americans.” The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.1 are the industry standards for assessing and implementing website accessibility.
For example, all videos should have closed captions available for those who are hard of hearing and video transcripts for those with cognitive disabilities. The ADA standards also recommend large interactive buttons and responsive web design for accessibility on all devices. Animations, however, such as bouncing or flashing icons, are highly discouraged.
Brand colors are important for uniformity and brand awareness. However, colors with high contrast are recommended as the background and text colors, such as the ubiquitous black font on a white background, for those with vision impairments like color blindness.
Some accessibility goes deeper than how your website looks. Certain CSS tags within the code can hinder screen readers for the visually impaired.
WebAIM, a non-profit focused on accessibility solutions, provides many free resources for bringing accessibility compliance to your website, including the WAVE Evaluation Tool and Contrast Checker.
Bringing accessibility to your website is good for customers, good for business, and good for your brand.
Last year, as schools transitioned to online learning during the Covid-19 pandemic, lawsuits over digital web accessibility began to rise and have continued to increase since. In the first half of 2021, lawsuits alleging websites, apps, and digital videos were inaccessible to people with disabilities rose by 64% compared to a year prior. Plaintiffs filed about 3,500 cases in 2020, and the number may exceed 4,000 in 2021.
Keeping your business website accessible for all potential customers is vital for modern brands to engage audiences effectively and stand out from competitors in search results.
Looking to revamp your web presence? Contact us to set up a free consultation to talk about making your website both appealing and accessible with WCAG and ADA standards.
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