A stunning 71% of customers with accessibility needs will leave a website that they find difficult to use, according to a survey by Click-Away Pound. This highlights a pivotal issue for businesses and web designers alike – the urgent need for accessibility in web design.
Accessibility in web design ensures that all users, including those with disabilities, can access, understand, navigate, and interact with websites without facing barriers. For the one billion people worldwide with disabilities, that’s a large audience that could be potentially neglected if your website isn’t accessible.
Why is website accessibility important?
A significant segment of the population is composed of people with disabilities. U.S. Census Bureau statistics indicate that almost 20% of individuals are living with a recognized disability. Of these, over half categorize their disability as severe.
With that in mind, yes, it’s a matter of inclusivity. Your digital door should be open to everyone, and creating an accessible website ensures you’re not excluding potential customers. But further, it’s a powerful economic decision. According to the Click-Away Pound report, businesses in the UK alone lose about £11.75 billion each year due to abandoned online purchases by disabled customers frustrated with inaccessible websites.
In short, it’s not optional
Accessibility isn’t a luxury or politeness – it’s table stakes for public consumption. Imagine entering a store, but the aisles are too narrow for your wheelchair. Or, you’re trying to read a book, but the print is too small. These are not acceptable problems in the physical world, and they are also not acceptable online. Falling short in this area, when you are attempting to entice a visitor to trust your brand, is a serious mistake.
What to do about it
Understanding this, how can you improve your website’s accessibility? First, there are actual guidelines available called the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines. You should totally check these out.
Don’t have time to read the spec? Here’s the summary:
There are several strategies to consider. Begin by designing your website to be compatible with assistive technologies. This includes screen readers that read aloud web content, speech recognition software, and technologies that replace the use of a mouse.
Next, ensure your website is perceivable. This means providing text alternatives for non-text content, using subtitles or transcripts for multimedia, and using legible fonts and colors. Your website should also be operable, meaning all functionalities can be performed through a keyboard, and users have enough time to read and use content.
Finally, your website should be understandable, with content presented in a predictable way and clear instructions provided. Offering a variety of ways to navigate and find content can also greatly enhance the user experience for individuals with accessibility needs.
The takeaway: website accessibility is very important
Accessibility is not a luxury in web design – it’s a necessity. An accessible website not only aligns with the principles of inclusivity and fairness but also unlocks a broader audience and potential customer base. So remember, in the quest for the perfect website, consider all users. After all, the internet was built for everyone.