Accessibility means ensuring everyone can access and interact with your online content regardless of their abilities. It involves creating content and design that is clear and easy to understand, use, and enjoy.
Importance of Accessibility
Positive brand image: A website that is easily accessible to everyone is essential for any business. It sends a positive message to customers and prospects and demonstrates your commitment to providing a seamless online experience. Treating everyone with empathy and inclusivity may lay the groundwork for long-term relationships.
Boost conversion: Providing a positive user experience for your visitors can help expand the reach of your products and services, increasing the likelihood of achieving maximum conversions. Websites that are accessible have the potential to rank higher in search engine results, which can potentially lead to increased traffic to your site.
Market Share of People with Diverse Abilities
Areas of Disability to Consider
Your website and app should be accessible to everyone, including those with:
- impaired vision
- motor difficulties
- cognitive impairments
- learning disabilities
- deafness or impaired hearing
- speech disabilities
- physical disabilities
Barriers and Solutions
There are a few things you can do as a business, team, designer, product owner, or marketer to guarantee that your website or app is accessible to consumers with a wide range of abilities. Not only is this the ethical thing to do (and WCAG-compliant), but it will also help you build a memorable and positive user experience and increase customer loyalty.
Hearing disabilities range from mild or moderate hearing loss in one or both ears to extensive and irreversible hearing loss in both ears.
In order for your website or app to be accessible to people with auditory difficulties, it must provide the following features:
- Transcripts and captions of audio content, including audio-only content and audio tracks in multimedia;
- Media players that display captions and provide options to adjust the text size and colors of captions;
- Options to stop, pause, and adjust the volume of audio content (independently of the system volume);
- High-quality foreground audio that is clearly distinguishable from any background noise.
Visual disabilities range from mild or moderate vision loss in one or both eyes to severe and uncorrectable vision loss in both.
People with visual difficulties frequently rely on changing the presentation of web content to make it more usable for their specific requirements. Make sure your website or app is set up so that they can:
- Enlarge or reduce text size and images;
- Customize settings for fonts, colors, and spacing;
- Listen to text-to-speech synthesis of the content;
- Listen to audio descriptions of video in multimedia;
- Read text using refreshable Braille.
Speech difficulties include the inability to produce speech that can be recognized by people or voice recognition software.
People with speech impairments require alternative means of interaction. To ensure that you deliver the same level of experience for them, you can provide:
- Text-based chat with representatives;
- Keyboard commands to operate web applications;
- E-mail and feedback forms.
Physical disabilities include muscular weakness and limitations, sensory limitations, joint problems (such as arthritis), pain that limits movement, and missing limbs. To make it easier for people with physical limitations to use your website or app, make the following provisions:
- Full keyboard support;
- Enough time to respond or complete tasks like online forms;
- Visual and non-visual orienting cues, page structure, and other navigational aids;
- Predictable, user-friendly page navigation and functions.
For more information, refer to Web Accessibility Initiative's Diverse Abilities and Barriers.
|Country / Region||Regulation|
|UK||The Equality Act of 2010 states that all UK service providers must consider 'reasonable adjustments' for disabled people.|
|USA||Web accessibility regulations are covered under various federal laws, including the American Disabilities Act (ADA), which requires that companies make accommodations for disabled users with specific regard to web accessibility.|
|EU||The European Accessibility Act requires that all businesses operating in the E-commerce sector meet minimum accessibility requirements.|
|Worldwide||The Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) have been developed to provide a set of core principles and minimum standards to meet the needs of consumers internationally. These guidelines define how content should be adopted by organizations globally.|
There are several steps you can take to ensure that your website and app are accessible to people with a wide range of abilities. Feel free to use this checklist as a starting point.
- Add captions to the content: Adding captions and subtitles to your brand videos or customer testimonials on your website or social media increases engagement. It is also beneficial for SEO because it lets search engines crawl and understand your website's content.
- Provide alt text for images: Alt text is a brief image description. People who use screen readers can better understand your website, and search engines use it while indexing it. If your image doesn't load, alt text appears.
- Use high-contrast colors: Some people may have difficulties viewing text if the color contrast is low. Thus, high-contrast colors like black and white or black and yellow are recommended. Your text should stand out rather than blend in with the background.
- Organize content using heading hierarchies: Organize your content into sections with clear headings to make it easier to read. This also aids in-page navigation and allows users to browse your page's content using assistive technologies.
Make your website user-friendly: Additional steps to make user interface and visual design more accessible to people with disabilities include:
- Ensure that navigation across pages on a website has consistent naming, styling, and positioning.
- Provide distinct styles for interactive elements, such as links and buttons, to make them easy to identify.
- Provide feedback for interactions, such as confirming form submission, alerting the user when something goes wrong, or notifying the user of changes to the page.
- Consider how page information is displayed in different viewport sizes, such as mobile phones or zoomed browser windows.
- Allow users to disable any animations or auto-playing sound through visible controls. This includes carousels, image sliders, background sound, and videos.
For more information, refer to Designing for Web Accessibility.