Top 20 Google Tips #10 - Google loves Accessible Websites!
Here's my 10th tip, the one that is closest to my heart, watch this video to find out why.
This is one of the most important things you can do for your website!
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Hi I'm Clive Loseby from Access by Design and I'm talking to you today about 20 things that you need to know about your website and Google in 2017.
Number 10. Google loves Accessible Websites!
On one sense it's really simple: Google is blind. If your website works well for Google, it will work well for blind people. Actually about three-and-a-half years years ago, Google started taking Accessibility seriously and the reason it started to do that is quite simple. Roughly ten percent of the population have a disability of some kind: people who are blind might use a screen reader, by the way that's the same technology that somebody driving a top of the range BMW will also use for browsing the internet because you can't look at a screen when you're driving, They might have motor difficulties and have found using a mouse difficult, they might use a keyboard, there's lots of different needs that people have
So Google's realized quite quickly that, if it started promoting websites to page one that weren't accessible, they wouldn't meet the needs of people with disabilities. If you have got a disability and Google is constantly giving you websites that you can't use, you will think "why is Google doing this? maybe I'll try another search engine" and when that's happened Google knows they've lost you because you won't come back. So it's actually in Google's interests for its own reputation, as well as anything else that it promotes accessible websites above ones that aren't.
Accessibility is something that's really important to me : it's in the name of the company, Access by Design. The reason we're called Access by Design is that my wife, who founded the business with me, was in a car crash back in June 1989. Now at that time there was no such thing as a Disability Discrimination Act or Equality Act. We lived in Chichester which is a lovely historic City but it's got a lot of historic buildings that were not accessible. The way my wife dealt with it was she set up a campaign group., she was in the paper every week and there were about 5,000 drop curbs put in, a lot of the old buildings, some of them hundreds of years, old were actually made accessible for Jess (and everyone else!)
When we started our company Access by Design in about 1997, (correction - 2007) we actually realised it was going back to the back to the 1980s because, as far as websites were concerned, Accessibility had just gone out of the window. The only websites that were accessible were ones that were garish, had horrible size fonts and just were not nice to look at. That's why we called our company Access by Design because we wanted to prove that it's possible to design a site well that also meets the needs of people with disabilities.
It goes a little bit further than that the best example I can think of is in Chichester there is a Boots store. It's a big store and it's got three sets of glass doors which you can go in and out of. Two of those sets of glass doors are manual doors. They 're quite heavy, you have to push them. The other door is an automatic one. Now if you're in a wheelchair, which of those three sets of doors are you going to choose? Obviously you're going to choose the automatic one. Now let's take it a bit further. if you've got a child in a pram, which of those three sets of doors are you going to go for? if you've got a walking stick, a walking frame or anything like that, where are you going to go? If you actually, say, you've gone into Boots you spent a shedload of money and you're coming out of boots with about ten bags of shopping, carrying out so you haven't got your hands-free, which are those three sets of doors are you going to go? Yeah it's the automatic one.
That is the principle of Accessible Web Design It's about giving people alternatives that, no matter what their ability or disability is, they will be able to use your website Google loves accessible websites and it's got very good reasons for doing so. We love Accessible Websites and for the same reason.
If you would like a free review of your website, please get in touch.
Clive Loseby, Access by Design. Awrad-winning web design, Chichester.