Assortment of different currency bills

Why an accessible website is good for your business

Government statistics show that roughly one in five people suffer from some form of disability. Viewed from a business perspective, it just doesn’t make sense to ignore 20% of the market share.

When it comes to accessibility it’s usually difficult to quantify the business value. Because “it’s the right thing to do” usually just doesn’t cut it. Well, the truth is;

Having an accessible website is a great way to appeal to a wider range of people and create a better user experience for all.

The biggest misconception people have when they hear the term accessibility is that it only benefits a small number of people who are deaf or confined to a wheelchair.

It might be for that reason that they think, their audience doesn’t have any disabilities.

However, government statistics show that roughly one in five people from the UK have reported suffering from some form of disability, whether visual, auditory, motor or cognitive.

Viewed from a business perspective, it just doesn’t make sense to ignore 20% of the market share.

How disabilities can range from permanent, temporary and situational

So disabilities are actually quite common, but there are also different situations where anyone could benefit from an accessible product, take for example:

  • an amputee with one arm (permanent)
  • a man with a broken arm (temporary)
  • a mother holding her child with one arm (situational)

In all of these cases, the person is limited to the use of one arm.

Therefore, it’s important to make sure a website works responsively and is easy to use – whether that be making actions easy to reach on mobile devices or making it easy to tab through a website without losing track of the focus ring on desktop.

How an accessible website can benefit those without disabilities

We touched on how disabilities can be situational and can benefit those who only have the use of one arm.

Well, here are some more real-world examples of where an accessible website would provide value to those without disabilities:

  • Maybe you’re on a train and forgot your headphones, but you still want to watch that video your friend sent to you (video captions would make a world of difference)
  • Maybe it’s sunny making it difficult to see your screen (better contrast would help here)
  • Maybe you’re a power user and love to wiz through a website with nothing more than your keyboard (a keyboard accessible website with a clear focus state would be great)

So in short;

Having an accessible website can give you a competitive edge and seriously increase your bottom line.

Whos job is it to make a website accessible

Accessibility is a team effort – from designers, developers and content editors.

Whilst there is a lot that designers and developers can do to improve the accessibility of a website – a lot of it also falls on the shoulders of the content editor too.

The way in which content is formatted for the web can either make or break the accessibility of a website. The good news is, if you care about SEO, then you should hopefully be doing a pretty good job for accessibility too.

Improving the accessibility of your website will positively impact your SEO.

Search engines look for a lot of the same things that screen readers do – from well-structured headings to image alt text and descriptive link text etc.

What content you can make more accessible

As a website owner or content editor, there are a lot of quick wins to be made. It all comes down to how content is written, formatted and published on the internet.

Here are some key features you’ll want to focus on to make your content more accessible:

  • is content easy to read and understand?
  • do headings follow a logical order (h1 to h6)?
  • do images have suitable alt text?
  • is link text descriptive?
  • do videos have closed captions?

If you action these points when creating content you’ll produce content that your audience will love and put you ahead of your competition.

In my upcoming posts, I’m going to look at each one of these in a little bit more detail to help you create more accessible content for your audience.

Portrait of Rob Simpson
Rob SimpsonUI/UX Developer

I’m Rob Simpson, a freelance UI/UX designer and front-end developer from Oxfordshire, UK.