Companies with a fully WCAG AA compliant website are expected to outperform competitors by 50% by 2023. Let’s address some of the best ways to ensure your website is accessible.
According to the Internet Society Accessibility Special Interest Group, about 1.3 billion people worldwide have disabilities – that’s 15% of the population. 71% of these individuals are likely to leave a website immediately if it doesn’t meet their accessibility needs. This is a significant portion of your audience to consider when planning, designing, and building a website.
There is a potential $1.2 trillion in the market that is being overlooked by companies that do not have accessible websites. Accessibility does not begin and end with physical, vision, or hearing impairments. There is an audience that has temporary disabilities as well – the person who broke their hand or arm and is in a cast for weeks, or someone with a migraine who can’t handle fast movement.
Accessibility & your business
Accessibility comes into play in the following aspects of your business.
Your brand appearance
Your legal obligations
Your visitors’ privacy and security
Your website SEO rankings
Accessibility & your brand
Your website is a pivotal representation of your brand, so ensure designs are accessible from the beginning. Keep a close eye on color contrast and font sizes, specifically on calls-to-action, to set your brand up for success. Some functionality comes into play from a design perspective as well, such as hover states, form usability, and movement.
Accessibility & the law
Title III of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) prohibits discrimination on the basis of disability in the activities of places of public accommodations. This means that all public places must be accessible. While it doesn’t state websites specifically, it is interpreted that way by the courts. Failure to adhere to WCAG compliance can result in a lawsuit, which has become more frequent in recent years.
Accessibility & security
Privacy and security are major concerns for many users with and without disabilities. If there are holes in your web accessibility, a disabled user may have to resort to sharing their sensitive credit card info, passwords, etc. in the case where they need to ask someone for assistance. Forms that are not labeled clearly could also cause an issue if someone enters information into the wrong field.
Accessibility & SEO
Accessibility not only empowers your users but also boosts your SEO rankings. Both accessibility and SEO rely on content hierarchy, markup semantics, and usable functionality to make content more discoverable and accessible by all users. Keep these fundamentals top-of-mind to ensure your site is accessible and discoverable via search engines.
Imarc’s approach to accessibility
At Imarc, we consider accessibility from the very beginning of every project as part of our ongoing web accessibility initiative. Our user experience strategists focus on page layout and hierarchy, while our designers hone in on color contrast and font sizes. The remaining pieces are handled during the development phase by both front-end and back-end engineers. Engineers build out web pages with semantic code, ensuring keyboard control, adding skip links, confirming button and link behaviors, incorporating alternative text and aria labels, and more! To learn more about the principles of web accessibility check out our blog post: What is Web Accessibility and why is it important?
Testing & Audits
Whether we are inheriting a website for a maintenance retainer or starting fresh with a website redesign, we always test for accessibility. What is the point in spending time and money on building your website if a percentage of your users can’t access it? When auditing an existing site, we focus on seven main areas: page layout, keyboard control, alt text, color contrast, skip links, form fields, and buttons/links, that align with the WCAG 2.0 guidelines. To conduct these audits we use every tool we can, including the JAWS screen reader and a super helpful Section 508 compliance testing tool, ANDI. Our engineers also love using Google Lighthouse, while our designers often turn to Contrast Grid.
Equal access for all
Our team continues to research and educate ourselves to make sure everyone is up-to-date on the latest accessibility standards and techniques. Everyone at Imarc understands the importance of web accessibility and strives to make the web a better place for all.
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