work [or not]. In this first blog entry I will quickly introduce you to digital accessibility what it is and why it should matter to you as a business.
No one thinks twice about the need for a ramp in front of a building for those in a wheelchair,…
[img ramp in front of stairs]
Access: alt: image of a ramp in front of a building
- Accessible doors offer a better experience for everyone.
[image of woman with baby pram using ramp]
This works the same way on the web.
Have you ever wondered how people with various needs surf the web or use a computer?
[image: of someone using a sip and puff]
[image: of someone listening to the words read aloud]
[image: a person zooming into your site]
[image: person with one hand holding a baby]
If you’re primary audience is older or very young, or in a hurry, in a visually challenging environment, loaded down, injured etc…
[img-anim: shakey mouse on the screen]
They will all benefit from the improved design that is a side benefit of an accessible design.
- Accessible design for websites and applications provide technical functionality for those who use third party tools and devices to access the internet. People with low or no vision use assistive technology such as screen readers, zoom software, and alternatives to using a mouse. An accessible website or application ensures that their tools can reliably access your content in the most efficient way possible.
[images of sip and puff, screen reader, zoomed in site]
Accessibility and inclusive design also considers those with learning disabilities,…
[ img-anim: type block becomes unreadable]
[ img-anim: site links turn grey and indistinguishable from surrounding text]
And vestibular disorders.
It benefits you bottom line to ensure that your site works for the majority of you’re audience.
8. Direct benefits to your business
Even if you are not one of the business’ with a legal obligation to ensure accessibility on your website, Google recognizes accessibility by improving the SEO of accessible sites. Accessible apps and sites are built in a way that naturally improves SEO and the quality of your end product.
In Ontario as well as Internationally, it is required by law for many larger organisations to comply with accessibility standards.
A few things your site should be able to do:
Be navigable via keyboard alone
Be legible at 200%
Be readable by a screen reader [software that reads aloud what is on the screen]
Have adequate contrast for those with low vision
To get a taste of what it’s like try using your tab key on this site to navigate and your enter key to select.
[Check out this accessibility simulation for users who do not require accommodations.]
9. Some important statistics
The aging population is predicted to triple to 1.5 billion by 2050
23% of web accessibility-related litigation and settlements since 2000 happened in the past 3 years.
Mobile screen reader usage has increased by 70% from 2009-2014
How to know if your site is accessible
There are very specific standards set out by The Worldwide Consortium for Accessible Content [WCAG]. Legal protection depends on you meeting all of the criteria in these standards. The criteria affects your content, graphic design, and technical make up of your site. Feel free to contact us for a budget friendly light accessibility audit. Acting on the information you gain from an audit can pay off greatly when it comes to improving the usability, design, SEO, and credibility, of your brand onilne.
What can you do
Make sure that your graphic designer or developer’s understands these standards and which level is required for your site. Get a company like us to do an accessibility audit. Audits can be quite pricey and the market is filled with ‘experts’ of varying degrees. Finding people who have experience auditing professionally is a good start or you can do a quick test of your own site.
Actions in a nutshell:
- Get a professional accessibility audit.
- Get an accessibility developer to make the necessary adjustments to your site.
If you are starting a site from scratch make sure that you have an accessibility expert on hand from the start. This may make things easier on your budget down the road as well. Depending on the complexity of your site you may need to invest a little more for your project. This up-front investment will not only widen your audience reach, but also protect your organisations reputation and prevent further costs for adjustments down the road.