What Are The Benefits Of Digital Accessibility For Websites

  • 28.03.2022
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Accessibility Features Website

The term “accessibility features website” refers to a website that includes elements that improve people with disabilities’ ability to use the site independently. Whereas websites have been designed to include additional options to improve the sites’ usability for some people, accessibility features on accessible websites are usually built into the website’s code and can be accessed by default.

The ADA Accessibility Guidelines for websites, which are generally referred to as Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG), specify how to make a website more accessible to people with disabilities. The accessibility recommendations in WCAG encompass a wide range of disabilities such as visual, auditory, physical, speech, cognitive, language, learning, and neurological disabilities. These requirements also help to make websites more accessible to older people whose abilities are changing as they age, and generally improve a website’s usability for a large number of users.

The accessibility issues that underpin the ADA accessibility guidelines have been categorized into issues that covalence into four distinct groups that can conveniently be reminisced by using the acronym POUR, which unbundles as Perceivable, Operable, Understandable, and Robust.

Perceivable issues are those that interfere with a user’s ability to find and process information on a website. It consists of providing audio descriptions for video content. Operable issues are those that have an impact on a website’s visitors’ ability to navigate and use the site. It means that all of the website’s functions and navigation can be accessed via keyboard commands. The ability of users to discern and comprehend all of the information and navigation processes on a website characterize the understandable issues, and includes the creation of error messages that contain detailed descriptions of the emerging error and the approach to correcting it. Robust issues involve a website’s ability to adapt and evolve in order to meet the changing needs of users with disabilities. This includes testing the changing needs of users with disabilities, such as screen reader compatibility and ensuring that they have capabilities that can be upgraded in the future.

The ADA Accessibility Guidelines for Websites

The ADA accessibility guidelines for websites require that the different features of web development and interaction to work together to make the website accessible to people with disabilities. The features include:

  • The content of the website, which comprises of the information in the site, including text, images, sounds, codes or markups that define the structure, presentation, among others, of the website.
  • User agents such as web browsers and media players.
  • Assistive technology such as screen readers, alternative keyboards, switches, scanning software, etc.
  • Users’ knowledge, experience, and adaptive strategies using the website.
  • Authoring tools such as the software for creating the websites.
  • Website evaluation tools such as the accessibility evaluation tools, HTML validators, and CSS validators, among others.

The ADA Accessibility Guidelines for Websites

Having an ADA Accessibility Website will provide numerous benefits to your company or organization. Among the advantages are:

Increased target audience

Having an accessibility features website will allow more people to use it, including people with and without disabilities. The inverse would imply excluding millions of users who could have otherwise become your clients or customers. In the United States alone, there are approximately 50 million people with disabilities, accounting for approximately 20 percent of the country’s population.

If your website is inaccessible, you are excluding roughly one-fifth of the country’s population; however, it is possible that these people are interested in the products and services you are providing but find it difficult to access and/or navigate. When you prevent certain segments of the population from accessing information about the products and services you provide, you are essentially working for your competitors, because the people you exclude will seek out alternative providers of the products and services.

Consider what might happen if you have a website with a video or image talking or providing information about the benefits of the products or services you offer, but it lacks captions or alternate text, preventing people with hearing or vision challenges from accessing the information. This will exclude them from the audience who will be able to access the information, even if that information could have influenced them to purchase the product or service.

Enhanced Search Engine Optimization (SEO) rating

Search engines are constantly evolving and improving. As they progress, their attention is increasingly drawn to human intention. The more your website aligns with what is generally accepted as best practice, such as being screen reader friendly, the more these factors will work to make your website rank higher on search engines and enable your SEO efforts to deliver faster results, implying improved business prospects.

Enhanced business or organizational reputation

People around the world are becoming more committed to promoting social integration by fostering societies that are stable, safe, and just, and that are built on the promotion and protection of society’s most vulnerable members. Every day, these socially conscious individuals visit your website. The majority of them have received ADA compliance training, which has expanded their knowledge of ADA compliance, such as 508 ADA compliance in finance and banking, ecommerce ADA compliance, and website accessibility features. They will evaluate your website’s compliance with the ADA accessibility guidelines as they access and navigate it, and they will use their findings to decide whether or not to purchase products and services from you.

If your website is more accessible to people with disabilities, you will likely gain more customers because they will believe that you and your products and services are going out of your way to meet the needs of people with disabilities. Consider how happy they would be if they discovered your accessibility features website after a long period of searching. That means they’ll go tell everyone they know about your website, which will boost its reputation.

Overall improvement in the website’s user experience

When your site is ADA compliant, the user experience improves significantly, even for those who do not have disabilities. Some people, for example, would prefer to navigate your website with a keyboard. Furthermore, laying out the text on your website in a clear manner will not only benefit screen readers but will also improve your customers’ experience with the website. Websites that provide an enjoyable user experience tend to generate more leads and lead conversions.

Avoidance of lawsuits and their the financial loses associated with them

Many websites that are not ADA and Section 508 compliant are attracting lawsuits, putting their owners at risk of significant financial losses as well as reputational damage. The ever-increasing number of lawsuits affects both large and small businesses. To avoid lawsuits and financial losses due to ADA non-compliance, you must ensure that every page on your website that is updated is grade A compliant.

If you want to learn more about the advantages of digital accessibility for your website, contact us and one of our accessibility experts will give you some pointers. We are also available to assist you in making your website ADA compliant. By clicking here, you can access our free ADA compliance check for your website.

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