The pandemic has highlighted, now more than ever, the need for a robust online presence. However, merely being “online” is not enough. Nowadays, establishing a good digital marketing strategy that includes accessibility is paramount to your business success.
Having a fully accessible website is not only for the benefit of people with varying disabilities. Digital inclusion is good public relations (PR) marketing as well as a great search engine optimization (SEO) booster. With an accessible website, everyone will take full advantage of your website’s increased usability. In return, you benefit from better search results.
Aim to make your website accessible to everyone, not just for search engines. We’ll explain why and more of what you need to know about the intersection of web accessibility and digital marketing.
What is web accessibility?
Web accessibility is simply about ensuring that websites and other digital tools are easily accessible and usable for all people regardless of abilities or disabilities. It seeks to remove all barriers. Both designers and developers are encouraged to implement the POUR (Perceivable, Operable, Understandable, Robust) principle recommended by W3C’s Web Accessibility Initiative (WAI).
How important is web accessibility today?
According to the World Bank,15% of the world’s population is experiencing some form of disability. At any time of the day, these same people may need to access and use your website. However, if your website is not fully accessible, it may be extremely difficult to use or may completely exclude disabled users.
There are a number of tools available that can help you audit your website and point out the gaps in accessibility your site suffers from. The most popular amongst them is accessScan, a free WCAG accessibility checker.
Reasons why it should be a priority
An accessible website will help everyone have a good user experience on your site. Additionally, it is imperative to follow the website accessibility standards to avoid fines and lawsuits. Limit your risk of legal complications by conforming to the accessibility requirements of your state or country. Here are some regulations you should know:
- EU Web Accessibility Directive
- Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA)
- Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)
- Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973
What is digital accessibility?
Digital accessibility includes web accessibility but also encompasses other digital media such as electronic documents, video and audit content, kiosks, and mobile apps. It provides accessibility to those with disabilities and provides access and the ability for all to engage with the content.
In addition to the obvious reason of providing content that everyone can access and the legal implications, pursuing accessibility is beneficial to your business in additional ways. Building an accessible website is not only good for your public image and usability of your site, but you also level-up the engagement and loyalty of your users.
Key types of disabilities to consider
A disability may be a permanent, temporary, or situational condition. For example, complete blindness (permanent), someone recovering from surgery (temporary impairment), or a nursing mother (situational) are all types of disabilities.
Considering the different types of disabilities will help you make the best decisions as to what actions to take or improvements to make to your website in order to cater to as many people as possible.
- Limited movement
People suffering from physical and mobility impairment may find it hard to do a specific task such as use a mouse or keyboard. They have restricting mobility like being unable to grasp or lift objects or the inability to walk or stand up.
- Neurological & cognitive limitations
Neurological and cognitive limitations may affect a person’s capacity to learn, memorize, perceive, and so on. It could also manifest in poor motor coordination, confusion, and impaired judgment making an unorganized website difficult to use.
Blindness includes temporary, partial, and complete blindness. Other visual impairments to consider are blurred vision, extreme light sensitivity, and color deficiencies.
Deafness and hearing loss is also a common type of disability. Including subtitles or providing transcripts is a good starting point to help people with varying types of hearing loss.
- Speech limitations
Speech and language disorder affects a person’s ability to talk, understand, read, and sometimes write.
Having disabled teammates positively impacts the whole business
Aside from ensuring that your website and digital tools are accessible, consider having disabled people on your team too. Did you know that hiring people with disabilities can boost your team’s productivity and morale? Moreover, according to Accenture, businesses that did include disabled employees on their teams increased their revenue by up to 28%.
Increased motivation in the workplace
Multiple studies reveal that the active inclusion of people with disabilities can help increase motivation in the workplace. They can bring unique perspectives and talents which can be beneficial to everyone.
More success & diversity
Employing people with varying abilities increases diversity. Diversity and eliminating stigma and discrimination in the workplace will bring unity and success to your business.
Advantages of having accessible websites for SEO
Besides making sure your website is usable for people with disabilities, another advantage of having an accessible site is better SEO.
- Better user experience
A fully accessible website mirrors universal design. Accessible sites provide a good user experience, and search engines reward sites that provide such.
- Reaching target audience easily
When your website is accessible, you also increase your chances of reaching your target audience.
- Better search results
Web accessibility standards and practices are equivalent to good SEO practices that bring better search results. These include providing alternative text, page titles, proper headings, sitemaps, semantic HTML, and so on.
Web accessibility is essential to your business success and growth, especially in this modern digital world. An accessible website and digital tools will not only help you avoid costly litigation, but will also help you gain more customers and make their journey an enjoyable process.