Accessibility is more and more essential when it comes to website design and development, especially with recent Government guidance when it comes to public sector / council websites (changes due 2020!) . Let’s take a look at what the term means, and why it’s important for you and your business.
What does accessibility mean?
Accessibility of a website is a measure of how easy (or difficult) a website is to use by someone who might have a limitation, such as a disability. In the beginning, websites were just simple text pages and by definition, were ‘very’ accessible, because screen readers and other tools were able to easily make sense of what was on the page. Over time, websites have become a lot more ‘complex’ and interactive, and our dependancy on websites has increased dramatically. Because of this, we need to ensure that websites are as accessible as they can be, to all users.
Why is this important for my business?
According to government statistics for the United Kingdom, 11.6 million people had at least one disability in 2011/12, and the figure grows every year. That’s 18% of the 63.7 million UK residents at the same time. Of those people, 2.2 million (3.5% of the population) had communication-related disabilities and 2.5 million (4%) had disabilities relating to memory, concentration and/or learning. [Wordpress, 2016]
Accessibility is so important for your business. Not just because it’s the right thing to do – ignoring accessibility means that, in straightforward business terms, you’re cutting out an enormous part of the population from your online conversation. If more people are able to use your site, then they will come to you over another less accessible, website. This means more customers for your product or service.
Of course, having an accessible website also means your SEO rankings improve. Over half of all searches made via Google are conducted using a mobile phone. That’s a BIG deal. So if you make your website accessible to mobile phone users (who may, perhaps, be experiencing limitations) then you’re on good terms with Google’s ranking algorithm.
But what if my website wasn’t designed for accessibility?
Your website may be a good few years old now, and you may not have been so aware of the need for accessibility when it was designed. That’s ok! Any good web designer worth their salt will be able to tell you where the problems are and do a redesign accordingly (if the theme allows, of course!). If you’re not sure, get a website audit – you can find details on how we do website audits here…
In conclusion, an accessible website is important for your business. Your website will perform better, rank higher and bring you more customers if you design with accessibility in mind. Make sure your designer is considering this.