Website accessibility: what is it and why is it important?
It’s time to make sure your website is accessible to all demographics. Find out what that means and why it’s important below.
A well-designed website can be appealing to the masses, but companies can often miss an important part of their demographic – people with disabilities. A website could have phenomenal branding and great visual appeal, and yet alienate huge numbers of users due to a lack of accessibility.
Understanding exactly what accessibility is and why it’s important is not recommended for businesses – it’s essential. With the increased move to accessing even more services online as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, a successful modern business simply can’t afford to exclude a population of people wanting and willing to have access to their digital offerings due to lack of accessibility.
What do we mean by “website accessibility”?
Website accessibility basically means that anyone with a form of disability is able to access your website. Even more so, true accessibility means that a disabled person can understand, use, interact with and perceive your website to a meaningful degree.
The same guidelines apply with a website accessed in both mobile and desktop formats, ensuring access can be obtained within limitations and barriers. This ensures that you’re not excluding anybody who may want to look at, and interact with your website.
If you’re wondering exactly how large the disabled demographic is in the UK, here are some statistics and figures to give you an overview:
- There are over 14 million disabled people in the UK
- There are 3 million colour blind people in Britain
- There are around 6.3 million dyslexic people in the UK
- Around 11 million people in the UK are deaf or hard of hearing
- 5 million people in the UK have a learning disability
- 360,000 people in the UK are blind or partially sighted
Why is website accessibility important?
There are plenty of good reasons why website accessibility is important – let’s take a look at some of them:
Equality and inclusion for customers
Any business built on good morals and social awareness should pride itself on being fair, diverse, equal and accessible to its customers. If a business has a good moral compass, accessibility should definitely be high up on its agenda.
Inclusion for employees
Related to the first point above, equality and inclusion shouldn’t be limited solely to customers – it’s important to recognise that particularly in larger organisations, staff and employees will likely make regular use of your company website. Whether it’s to review HR policies and procedures, or simply to find out the latest news in your business, you run the risk of excluding disabled employees from accessing vital information if your website isn’t accessible.
It makes commercial sense
Even putting morality and ethics to one side, many businesses seriously underestimate the power of the purple pound when in fact, it continues to grow. It was estimated at being worth around £249 billion to UK companies in 2017 so, it’s definitely not a demographic to be ignored.
Failure to do so could be breaking the law
There are various examples of organisations being sued by individuals who feel that website accessibility regulations have been ignored or disregarded. Whilst the specifics of what is and isn’t legal will depend on the jurisdictions in which your business operates, as an example you can find out more about website accessibility and current laws and regulations in the UK on the government website.
These days brands are expected to be diverse and inclusive which includes ensuring their website is accessible. Customers with disabilities not being able to access your website is not something any business wants to be associated with.
Take the next step towards making your website accessible
With a greater understanding of what website accessibility is and why it’s important to your business, now is the time to take the next, or perhaps first, step to making a positive change.
If you’re unsure of where to start first, seek professional help. It could be something as simple as subtitling your video content or adding audio description voiceovers. Whatever it may be, getting professional help can set you on the path to making some really important changes to your website.
With the right improvements, you can ensure your business has a website that’s inclusive and accessible to all – something I think we can all agree is extremely important.
Access by Design. Beautiful, accessible, web design, Chichester.