Language is important
Think about the words
For some years I was a lecturer at a college. When you are in a position of authority, the words you use can have a lasting impact. As you get to know your students, their backgrounds and their own challenges, you can modify your language, the phrases you use, so that they feel more positive.
When it comes to your website, however, it is a different matter. You do not know anything about the visitors to your website, their background or challenges.
This is why it is especially important that you ensure that the words you use are as inclusive as possible.
Your Website Accessibility Statement is so important
Take a Website Accessibility Statement as an example. This Statement informs visitors to the website with accessibility needs, what the limitations of the website may be. It is actually a really good opportunity to show visitors that you want to help them, no matter what the limitations of the website are.
I was evaluating a website last night. It had an accessibility statement on it that began in the following way:
“We are committed to providing a website that is accessible to the widest possible audience, regardless of technology or ability. To ensure increased accessibility and usability of our website we aim to adhere to many of the available set guidelines and standards blah blah blah”
The website failed to reach the most basic level of accessibility. At the end of this Accessibility Statement, it invited visitors to contact them if they had any issues, without giving any contact details.
Are your words backed up by actions?
If there is a gulf between what your Website Accessibility Statement claims and the actual accessibility of the website, you are in a worse position than if you had no statement at all. A disabled visitor would not trust you because you are clearly not backing your words up with actions.
On the other hand, the Statement had just started like this:
“We are aware that there are accessibility issues with our website and are really sorry for that and are working to resolve them. However, we do not want any visitors to our website to struggle with using our website so please call us on 0xxxxx-xxxx or follow this link to send us an email, we will be delighted to give you all the help that you need.”
What sort of difference do you think that would make to a disabled visitor? Nothing has changed about the website, it still has the same issues but the use of language can make a tremendous difference to how visitors to your website feel about your business.
Free Website Accessibility Workshop
If you want to find out more about website accessibility, come along to our next workshop. Please follow this link for more details. It is free to attend.
If you have questions regarding your own Website Accessibility Statement, why not book yourself in for a free 15-minute chat by following this link:
Clive Loseby/ Access by Design.
Beautiful, Accessible, Web Design, Chichester.