Since the use of the internet is increasing day by day, so does the need for accessibility for various businesses. But the question arises is why accessibility is a priority for businesses. What are the ways one can make their website or digital content accessible? What is a web accessibility audit, and what does it entail? How accessibility testing ensures your content is accessible?
As the population of the world is increasing day by day, so does the percentage of people born with certain disabilities. Up to 26% of adults in the United States have some disability, as specified in research.
(NOTE: The research link is mentioned for the reference only http://cdc.gov as we have mentioned a statistical fact)
Making sure your website is accessible is essential for all businesses. Ensuring accessibility also helps to improve the user experience for everyone and can open up your business to a wider customer base. Web accessibility audit entails evaluating a website for compliance with accessibility standards to make sure it is accessible to everyone.
What is web accessibility?
Web accessibility refers to the practice of designing websites and digital content so that they can be accessed and used by people with disabilities. This includes visual, auditory, cognitive, and motor impairments.
Why is web accessibility important?
There are several reasons that depict the importance of web accessibility. First, it is the right thing to do. Everyone, including people with disabilities, has the same right to access information and services. Second, web accessibility increases user experience. Third, website accessibility can he;p businesses reach wider audiences.
Benefits of making web accessibility a priority for your business
Web accessibility offers a lot of benefits, and it includes:
Increased customer satisfaction:
When you make your website accessible, it becomes more user-friendly, including the ones with special needs. This can result in increased customer satisfaction and loyalty.
Improved brand reputation:
Making your website accessible shows your commitment to diversity and inclusion. This helps in enhancing your brand reputation and attracting new customers.
Increased potential customer base:
Accessible websites also get a chance to reach a wider audience as the underserved market is also reachable now. It means you get to reach an extra 26% of the world population in increasing your potential customer base.
Reduced legal risk:
In some countries, laws like ADA, AODA, Section 508 compliance, and WCAG 2.0 state the guidelines and standards to achieve accessibility. Additionally, it is also a mandatory requirement; it reduces your risk of legal liability.
Search engines like Google rank websites that are accessible higher in their search results. This will result in attracting more visitors to your website.
If you are interested to learn more about web accessibility, you can visit the guidelines of the Word Wide Web Consortium (W3C). WCAG is the international standard developed by W3C.
And in order to achieve accessibility, Web accessibility audit and accessibility testing take place, allowing you to know about the areas of improvement of your website. On the basis of the audit and testing reports, remediation can be done to remove those barriers to accessibility.
Steps to take to ensure accessibility
Here are some steps you can take to ensure the accessibility of your website:
Conduct a web accessibility audit:
The first step is to conduct a web accessibility audit, for which you can consult with an accessibility service provider. Web accessibility audit helps in identifying any potential accessibility issues on your website. There are a number of tools and technologies used to check the same.
Implementing accessibility best practices
Once the barriers to accessibility are identified, the implementation of best practices is used with the help of best practices to remove those barriers. There are a lot of accessibility best practices that one can follow. However, we are mentioning the important ones below:
- Using text alternatives for all images and multimedia content.
- Making sure that all text is readable by screen readers.
- Using clear and concise language.
- Information should not be conveyed solely through color.
- Providing keyboard navigation options.
- Testing your website with a variety of assistive technologies.
Integrating accessibility tools into your website
Several accessibility tools are there that you can integrate into your website to improve the accessibility of your website. Some of the most popular accessibility tools include:
- Screen readers
- Zoom tools
- Keyboard navigation tools
- Color contrast tools
Conduct accessibility testing
Once the barriers are eliminated from the website, accessibility testing is done. Accessibility testing is the process where a website or application ensures that people with disabilities can now use it.
There are two ways in which testing is conducted one is automated testing, and the other is manual testing. The automated testing is done with the help of some automated tools, where the website is scanned to check if there are any other barriers. On the contrary, manual testing involves using assistive technologies, such as screen readers and magnifiers, to stimulate the experience of a disabled person.
Some of the most important things that are checked in accessibility testing include:
- Whether all text is readable by screen readers.
- Whether all images and multimedia content have text alternatives.
- Whether the website or application is keyboard accessible.
Here are a few extra tips to make your website accessible include:
- Make sure your content management system (CMS) supports accessibility.
- Get feedback from people with disabilities.
- Keep your website up to date with the latest accessibility standards.
By following these steps, you can make your website more accessible to people with disabilities. This is the right thing to do, and it can also benefit your business in many ways.
Overall, web accessibility offers many benefits, including increased customer satisfaction, improved brand reputation, reduced legal risk, increased potential customer base, and improved SEO. And making your website accessible is a priority for your business as it offers a lot of benefits in the long run and is also a mandated requirement in some countries.
Accessibility is also essential for individuals with disabilities, as it enables them to access and use websites. This is why businesses should make it a priority to ensure your websites are accessible.