The primary reason behind accessible website development is the enabling of those who have visual impairments, are hard of hearing, or who have mobility or cognitive challenges to enjoy, access, and otherwise participate in the modern digital world we live in. Unfortunately, to some, website accessibility is an afterthought, but it's only going to become more important and more heavily demanded. It's time for everyone to learn a little more about the importance of website accessibility – here are the top five reasons to comply.
1. Win your customers' loyalty and trust
When people with disabilities are unable to use your website, you're not being fair to them, and they'll probably notice. Often times, a person with a disability is more likely to engage in online shopping and information gathering than the average person. Your customers are online for a reason, and many disabled people are online because brick-and-mortar channels can be wildly inaccessible. This is all the more reason to make it easy on these people by making your website universally accessible, regardless of platform or physical ability.
2. It's the law
Website accessibility compliance is covered by two popular standards: Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act and Title III of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). There are obvious legal reasons to comply with Section 508 and ADA, and lawsuits don't only occur when large corporations are involved. Any business or group that serves the public can be asked to remediate their website if Section 508 or ADA standards are violated. In fact, fjorge was once approached by a small business for development help after the business was forced to remediate its website.
3. People with disabilities are not a silent minority
One of the great things about the internet is that it gives a voice to people who may not have many opportunities to speak their minds in other public places. Internet access has very much leveled the communication playing field. Don't let your website be the one that gets in the way. Do everything in your power to ensure that your website works for everyone.
One in five American adults has trouble hearing, while one in ten has trouble with vision. Do you really want to risk missing out on potentially 20% of the population?
4. It doesn't have to be time consuming
Much of website accessibility compliance comes down to simply being aware of accessibility standards. With only a small amount of planning and semantic markup, a website can comply with WCAG 2.0 Level A or AA standards. When you consider what have come to be best-practiced design and responsiveness standards, it can actually be fairly difficult to build a "good" website that is not accessible nowadays.
5. Everyone wins
People with disabilities, as well as government agencies and private businesses, benefit from a world where website content is accessible by everyone. People with disabilities are able to gather all the information they need on your website, you increase your opportunities for sales (while being a good digital citizen), and nobody gets caught up in lawsuits. Everyone truly wins.
Click below to learn how you can save time and money on your way to website accessibility compliance.