How Web Accessibility is Changing the Internet
Web accessibility refers to designing a website in such a way that it is accessible to every visitor, including those with disabilities. Usually, a person with some kind of disability uses assistive technology, such as screen readers, to get the feel of a website.
Web accessibility is not only limited to people with disabilities, but it also includes various devices with different screen ratios. You need to make your website easily accessible to smartphones and tablets.
There were 5.135 billion mobile phone users in 2018, and around 15% of people in the world have some type of disability, so you need to make your website accessible to everyone. Web accessibility is very important, so let’s have a look at how it is changing the internet.
More And More Websites Are Moving Toward Web Accessibility
Big organizations like Apple and Microsoft have already committed to meet WCAG standards and a lot of other small companies are following the footsteps of Apple and Microsoft when it comes to meeting web accessibility standards.
You should also consider giving priority to web accessibility if you don’t want to get hit with a lawsuit saying your website isn’t compatible for people with any kind of disability.
The first step towards improving your website’s accessibility is adding “Alt Text” to all the images on your website. Also, ensure that you always use Semantic HTML to ease the navigation process in the website.
The Surge In Web Accessibility Lawsuits
Web accessibility lawsuits have been increasing every year. According to ADA Title III, web accessibility lawsuits increased by over 177% in 2018 when compared to the total number of lawsuits in 2017.
Even if you haven’t been intentionally discriminating against people with disabilities, your business is still vulnerable to legal complications. Therefore, it is important that you follow the WCAG 2.0 guidelines.
When compared to the cost and risk associated with these lawsuits, ensuring your website meets web accessibility standards is a lot cheaper. These lawsuits not only cost you money, but they also harm your brand’s reputation.
Web Accessibility Helps Businesses Reach New Markets
As mentioned above, 15% of people in the world have some type of disability, which means you’re missing out on 15% of the audience in the world and a lot of money.
According to a survey by Click-Away Pound, you will be losing 71% of disabled customers if your website isn’t accessible. Apart from a revenue standpoint, web accessibility improves usability and customer satisfaction.
When you design an accessible website for people with disabilities, you allow more people to visit your website, which increases the total number of sales.
Web Inaccessibility Damages Companies’ Reputations
More and more consumers have started raising their voices against accessibility discrimination, and when companies listen to them, it creates a positive brand image in public.
Designing an accessible website will improve your brand’s reputation as it will demonstrate your business’s dedication to social responsibility. Consumers often want to engage with companies that focus on creating accessible websites.
Leveraging Web Accessibility for SEO
Search engine optimization is important to increase the visibility of your website. Besides, search engines cannot see your website like humans, hence, they rely on other factors when ranking websites.
Therefore, search engines rely on “Alt Text” to understand the context of the images on your website. Also, when you add video transcripts on your website, it helps your videos get indexed, resulting in improved visibility.
Adding anchor text not only improves the relevancy of the page but it also helps people navigating via a keyboard or screen reader technology to browse a site by skipping from link to link.
How To Ensure Your Website Meets Web Accessibility Standards
The first step toward web accessibility is ensuring that your website is keyboard-friendly, i.e. visitors can access all the functionalities of the website without using a mouse. Adding Alt Text to all the images on your website can help with this.
Design all the forms on your website for accessibility by ensuring that each field is clearly labeled. It is also important to choose your colors carefully so that everyone can distinguish between different elements on the page.
In case you are unable to make the changes yourself or your developer is unable to understand what changes to make then you can take the help of tools like accessiBe to fasten the process. accessiBe utilizes artificial intelligence to automatically scan and analyze a website’s element structures for WCAG 2.1 compliance and makes sure that your website is accessible to everyone.
accessiBe’s AI re-scans the website every 24 hours for new content and ensures that it meets web accessibility standards all the time. It optimizes the website in a way that it can easily be navigated via keyboard and also makes it compatible with screen readers. Their image recognition technology automatically scans all the images on the website and adds “Alt Text” in them. These descriptive texts help visually impaired people to understand the context of the image.
Web accessibility issues have been around for years, but they have gained prominence since 2017. As a result, more and more websites have started committing to accessibility. There has also been a huge rise in the total number of lawsuits against websites that are not properly accessible. Having an accessible website helps you reach new customers and enhances both your public relations and your website’s SEO.