The Importance of Digital Accessibility and Steps to Improve It on Your Website
The population of Americans that are disabled, 57 million, is more than the population of New York and California combined. From this large number, only 2.17 million surf the web regularly, and of those, 1.15 million find it challenging to surf the web. In addition, 9 out of 10 websites are estimated to be inaccessible, showing how difficult web browsing can be for those who are disabled.
Types of Disabilities That Affect Web Browsing
Visual – 3.2 million
Hearing – 3.9 million
Cognitive Mental – 7.9 million
Ambulatory – 9.8 million
What is Digital Accessibility?
Content exposure can be increased using accessibility techniques such as:
– This is used for images and multimedia, allowing them to be found by search engines.
– These can sort through text but most cannot access images.
– Headings carry more weight than normal text for most search engines.
– Many search engines find these inaccessible.
Because the demand for assistive technology has been shown, many companies have come up with products and services to help those with disabilities. Some examples are screen readers, which help people hear the text on a website, web applications designed to be used without a mouse, captioned videos with transcripts, and PDFs that can be downloaded and have their content read aloud.
What Defines an Accessible Website?
W.C.A.G. (Web Content Accessibility Guideleines) is a list of standard guidelines for web accessibility created by the W3C’s Web Accessibility initiative. It defines what makes a website accessible.
Top 3 Reasons to Make Your Website Accessible
1. A clear model has been set by the ADA and other regulations to demand accessibility for websites.
2. Structured settlements and litigation's are increasing to grow a large amount of standards.
3. Being prepared can prevent expenses, efforts, and stress in the future for the organization.
Two Ways to Approach Accessible Compliance
1. Proactive Preparation
To manage your website for accessibility in a proactive manner, first fix the main issues located on the paths to transactions. After that, oversee the website for any other raised issues or areas of improvement and inform your key stakeholders about your efforts. Then, concentrate on your front line staff to raise the level of competency, and make sure to have a conformance statement or symbol showing your commitment to accessibility placed on your website.
Choosing to prepare proactively benefits your business greatly. It is the less expensive choice that allows you the control of focus and investment. Proactive preparation promotes good business, provides protection to handle further examinations, and gives your website enhanced SEO benefits.
2. Reactive Response
In order to respond reactively, you must first hold a meeting with the complaining organization. After that, you need to hire an expert with experience in the accessibility field and then create a team for both development and front line customer service to gain better insight and knowledge. The last step to responding reactively is to set aside some money for tools that will help set up and revise accessible sites to ensure the accessibility of your website over time.
Appraise your website on a regular basis for user-friendliness and provide information to key stakeholders that track WCAG fulfillments.
Evaluate electronic documents, like PDFs, for ease of use.
Coach and remind your development and front line customer service teams on applicable portions of the accessibility agenda.
Create a position for an internal owner for accessibility to be in charge of the direction of prospective developments.
Digital accessibility has become a well known issue that is being taken care of as more and more disabled people are demanding for digital content to be designed to have more ease of use. Technologies have been created to make web browsing easier and now the American with Disabilities Act is becoming a clear precedent, requiring websites to be accessible. You can prevent future problems and costs by proactively preparing yourself and making your business website accessible according to the W.C.A.G guidelines.