Six Overlooked Benefits of Web Accessibility

Six Overlooked Benefits of Web Accessibility
Photo Credit: Crest Data Systems

Web accessibility can be understood as a practice to allow every stratum and part of society to access a website. It means that a website shall be usable for all types of visitors, including those with disabilities, impairments, or certain limitations.

Web accessibility involves certain guidelines or principles that website owners have to follow in order to make a website accessible. The concept of web accessibility has become widely popular across the globe, with several government agencies and organizations requiring web owners to abide by the regulations of website accessibility. According to a report by the WHO, 15 percent of the global population has some sort of disability. This includes physical disabilities, mental as well as neurological disabilities.

To make things inclusive for everyone, several significant principles such as The Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) were developed, which are internationally shared guidelines governing the standards of web content accessibility. Such standards are meant to simplify things for the disabled and allow them equality of opportunity.

While these guidelines are meant to benefit people with disabilities, there are numerous other benefits of web accessibility for web owners as well, which are often overlooked.

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Let Us Check Out Some of These Overlooked Benefits:

#1. Reach a Wider Population

As mentioned above, 15 percent of the global population suffers from some form of disability. Disabilities may come in various forms; physical, psychological, even neurological, and cognitive. The US CDC suggests that 1 out of 4 Americans are living with a disability. Thus, when a web owner neglects this part of society, he/she is kept from making profits from these users! Accessibility website standards allow a website to reach a wider population.

According to a report, in 2016, UK retailers lost $15.5 billion USD as people with disabilities could not access their products online! This, perhaps, is one of the most overlooked yet appealing benefits of web accessibility.

#2. Positive PR

Unlike earlier times, customers today are extremely alert. Digital activism has made them more aware of things like web accessibility. Consumers today want to support and invest in companies that share their beliefs, ideas, and values. According to a recent survey, 62 percent of consumers are willing to invest their time and money in brands that take a stand on issues that matter.

A business must always look for positive PR, and one great way to do that is by writing a web accessibility statement for your website. Such a document will reflect your commitment to web accessibility and explain the steps you have taken to ensure such accessibility. Taking a stand on web accessibility will allow you to build a positive brand image while people with disabilities will have a positive interaction with the business, recommending it to others.

The Americans Disabilities Act requires that people with disabilities have equal access to public services and while the ADA doesn’t have any provision that prescribes web accessibility, its implementation can be interpreted onto digital media as well. In 2018, more than 2250 web accessibility lawsuits were filed in the US. And while it is obvious that this figure will keep on growing, what’s significant to note is that non-compliance with web accessibility guidelines can get you in legal trouble.

#4. Improved SEO

We all have heard of SEO marketing. It’s a way a website gets listed or ranks on the first page of a search engine. An accessible website does more than generate positive PR. When you abide by the web accessibility norms, your SEO is more likely to be improved.

This is because numerous goals of website accessibility and search engine optimization coincide. For instance, websites with an appealing and convenient interface along with easy navigation will be accessible to people with disabilities but will also improve the bounce rate. Therefore, improved SEO is an added advantage when it comes to web accessibility.

#5. User Experience

User experience is one of the major benefits of web accessibility. A great user experience not only helps people with disabilities but also attracts customers. Thus, lower color contrast, small fonts, unclear links, and problems opening the menu result in a bad user experience.

Choosing to abide by the principles of web accessibility will allow online stores and websites to not only tend to customers with disabilities but will improve the overall user experience ultimately. A lot of website owners hire web accessibility consultants today in order to make their websites accessible and improve the user experience.

#6. Increased Sales

A great user experience, improved SEO, positive PR, and great reach all contribute to a rapid increase in sales and exponential growth. An effort to enhance web accessibility will ultimately lead to increased sales and help in the growth of the business. Further, even if the website is not equipped to handle sales, one must ensure that the information is accessible to all kinds of users so that they can return to your website to buy products in the future.

Conclusion

The benefits of web accessibility involve creating a strong customer base with great customer satisfaction, improving the brand image and improving general usability.

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