Data provided by the CDC indicates that 26% of American adults suffer a disability of some kind. A large percentage of them have disabilities that hinder their ability to utilize most web content as it is. Is your current web design able to cater for this demographic? If not, put yourself in the shoes of your audience who have vision, hearing or cognitive impairments. How would you navigate the website?
The good news is that creating an ADA web design benefits you in several ways as well discussed below.
Increased Audience Reach
The number of persons with disability is significant and if your website is inaccessible to them means that you lose a huge audience. They’ll be shut out because they’ve no means of accessing you. This can lead to significant loss of business that can be simply remedied by a creating an accessible site.
Accessibility opens you up to a potentially larger additional audience which can positively impact return on investment. Research indicates that the spending power for people with disabilities is approximately $ 175 billion. Web accessible design is not only a good act but a sound business move.
Improved Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
Improving web accessibility causes your website to be easily found by search engines like Google. The purpose of SEO is usually to increase traffic into your site and to rank you higher on search engines. Therefore, the more the people find your website relevant, the more a search engine finds it trustworthy and ranks it higher.
A website with a cleaner interface and is easier to navigate helps people with disabilities access more content improving your bounce rate. This makes the search engine rank your content as trusted content.
Avoid Legal Trouble
Failing to adhere to the regulation and guidelines given by ADA on web accessibility, you may be attracting legal trouble. ADA requires that people living with disabilities be granted equal access to all services, including online services. A website ADA compliance law suit can be instituted against your company should you be found to be in violation of these guidelines. There has been an increase web accessibility lawsuits due to alleged discrimination against some groups of people.
Apart from ADA, Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act states that any technology that is developed, procured or maintained by an institution that benefits from federal funds must remain accessible to people living with disabilities. You’ll need to fill a Voluntary Product Accessibility Template (VPAT) to confirm the extent to which you conform to the Section 508 standards. The purpose of VPAT compliance is to help consumers of ICT products be clearly informed about the level of accessibility compliance before purchasing products.
Gain a Competitive Advantage
In order to become better than other in the online environment, you need to be better than your competitors. Your services will be covering a bigger crowd than a competitor whose website is not accessible. This is also beneficial to your brand since it will be seen as an inclusive brand drawing positive attention, reviews or referrals.
As many people accesses your site, your sales will also increase whether you’re offering products or services. Besides, simply being accessible creates excellent user experience giving value to the information you offer.
A Good Practice with Many Benefits
After all is said and done, being accessible to all is the right thing to do. It’s important that your website caters to the needs of everyone across the board. Whether you are in education, ICT, commerce, health, government or any other industry, remaining accessible is paramount to the success of your website and growth of your business.
Besides, the growth in technology keeps making things easier especially the availability of modern assistive technologies and artificial intelligence (AI) tools. Ultimately, an accessible web design is as good for your audience as it is good for you.