If you are reading this post, you surely understand the importance of having an internet presence through a website that proves that your company is a leader in its sector. But it's not just about showing up on the internet, the real determining factor of your website's success is how it shows up on the internet for the general public to consume.
It is precisely for this reason that things like the design of your website's interface, the careful crafting of meaningful headlines, the selection of powerful imagery as well as unique colors and typefaces, and most importantly, the technologies that are used for the development of your website, matter A LOT to us. Altogether, in addition to a plethora of other behind-the-scenes factors, these constitute the absolute real presence of your company on the internet. But to make matters more interesting, we have to add another extremely important factor that is oftentimes overlooked: ACCESSIBILITY.
What is accessibility?
It is the inclusive practice and guarantee of providing equal access opportunities to a website for all its visitors; regardless of their situational physical and mental abilities, socio-economic restrictions, or geographical contexts. It is proof that a website is carefully crafted to aid the perception, understanding, navigation, and interaction of a person with all of its content.
Initially, when we hear the term "accessibility", many of us may think that we must only ensure that the content of our website can be consumed by people who suffer from any kind of disability. However, the concept of accessibility extends beyond that. An accessible website should benefit and help those who consume content on different types of devices on varied screen sizes, our elders who might have temporary disabilities, visitors with situational barriers, or those with limited or slow internet connections. As you can see, accessibility is for EVERYONE.
Why is web accessibility important?
There are many arguments we could consider to prove why accessibility is a fundamental part of every website, but we strongly believe that there is absolutely no need to convince anyone of its utter importance. Accessibility is a universal human right and it is simply the right thing to do, no questions asked.
Now, delving a little deeper, let's hold this thought for a minute: according to the World Health Organization, approximately 1 billion people, or 15% of the world's population, live with some form of disability. So that means that having an inaccessible website would put you in a position where you would be:
- Deterring visitors from taking advantage of your service or product offerings
- Potentially facing expensive legal problems. In the United States, Title III of the Americans with Disabilities Act applies to any websites in the public or private sectors. Thus, a company whose website is considered inaccessible may be forced by law to redesign or redevelop its website, in addition to paying damages to any affected party.
All of this can feel overwhelming and raise a lot of questions like how do I know if my website is accessible or not? Is there some magical plugin that fixes everything with the click of a button? Don't fret my friends! We'll continue to share our knowledge in a series of web accessibility compliance posts coming up in the near future. If in the meantime you'd like to know quick answers to any and all of your accessibility compliance questions, reach out and we'll be happy to guide you through the intricacies of this extensive topic. Together we can all contribute to Making the Internet a Happier Place™ 😉!