Do you remember the dominant era of the brick and mortar stores? Those were the times when you would see shiny storefronts, great lighting, fancy seatings, and an overall pleasant environment. While the architecture did affect the pricing of products in some places, they also did encourage customers to visit the stores.
If we were to replicate the same experience online, we would have to talk about web accessibility. Web design companies advocate the use of standard web accessibility practices to upkeep the influx of leads and users to your brand’s website.
But the question is, why are all websites not accessible to everyone?
I can point out three reasons.
→ Service Provider lacks Experience:
If you have sought help from individual freelancers instead of creative agency, chances are they do not have the required exposure or experience with web accessibility guidelines.
→ Budget Constraints:
Most brand owners focus on a broad set of target audiences. Hence, inclusivity goes out of the window. In addition to this, the budget that tags along with the web accessibility feature seems to be a burden for brands. As a result, they tend to delay it or never have it in the first place.
→ Focused Target Audience:
There is this misconception regarding the target audience and disabled people in general. While there are limited areas for disabled people to tap into, the Internet is gradually embracing them. However, brand owners only focus on a pool of audience and neglect the specially-abled people.
What is the Importance of Web Accessibility?
No matter where your business is located, if you want to be a global name, you need to follow the global standards meant for your business. In today’s time, the focus is on inclusivity and privacy. While Europe has a stringent eye on the privacy of its people, America has its priority set on inclusivity.
In 2021, hundreds of businesses based in the U.S. were slapped with web accessibility lawsuits, and the number isn’t going to get better in 2022.
As per the Americans with Disability Act (ADA), businesses need to offer digital accommodation to specially-abled people. In addition to this, the Justice Department of the U.S. has confirmed that this act also applies to the website. That’s not it. There are even international laws acting as a strong spine to the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG). Hence, it is a global thing, and if you do have the vision to keep your website performing well regardless of borders, you must become serious about web accessibility guidelines.
Do you need another motivation to work with web accessibility? Well, the good news is proper implementation of web accessibility can help your website perform excellently in the search engine rankings.
Did I hear a–How come?
Well, when you have images and visual content on your website, they are not scrollable by the web spider. Hence, you can’t target the keywords included in those sections. In stark contrast, when you abide by the web accessibility guidelines like a Bible (or not if you are an atheist), you have the edge to target more keywords by placing content as Alt text, masked off behind the visual content.
If this doesn’t excite and inspire you to opt for to make your web accessible, I don’t know what will.
What are the Top Mistakes to Avoid while Focusing on Web Accessibility?
Let’s cut to the chase and get to know the top mistakes your developers should avoid while working on a website to make it more accessible.
As per the survey by WebAIM, nearly 32% of websites have the alt text from banners missing. While you spend a lot of time approving the creatives of the banner text that pops up first when you open the website, it is equally important to add the alternate text to the banner. So, your first impression isn’t just a silent monologue of, “Oops, we missed out on the alt text behind the banner. Please wait till we get to the next fold of the home page.”
This becomes a key challenge from the standpoint of web accessibility guidelines. To resolve this issue, ensure that the alt text is crisp yet descriptive and to the point. As a result, you are making your website friendly for people with visual impairments.
Imagine the risk of walking on a high cliff in the dark. You can’t figure out if the next step you put it on a rock or a snake or at rock bottom. Similarly, there should be an intense focus on the contrast–text, colours, shapes, etc. Proper contrast helps your users to differentiate between a shape, an edge, and text and use this convenience to move to your next-intended step.
Place your text where the contrast ratio is proper as compared to the background. The content on the website should marry the background colour and complement the overall look and feel of the website.
Do you see what I did with the heading? You can be as creative and go the extra mile with the design and content. However, when it comes to the heading hierarchy, maybe you would want to set some boundaries. People with disabilities use assistive technologies to access your web page. In most cases, these assistive technologies utilise the headings to access any website. As a result, you must maintain a proper heading hierarchy for special users to follow the logical pathway.
Philosophically speaking, crossroads always leave people stuck with possibilities. The same applies to the website. The navigation links are similar to the crossroads. When you have chaotic navigation, it can give birth to an accessibility issue. Special users usually follow the navigation as soon as a web page is loaded. As a result, if you have multiple navigations, it could put your intended navigation on the backseat and leave your users confused about the next path.
We just discussed the negative impact of having too many navigational links. In this section, we will talk about the right approach to using navigation links. When you include any kind of links on the website, it should have a proper navigation label instead of using generic terms–Read More, Here, Click Here, etc. Keep your CTAs descriptive for your special users to get an idea about where they are going next. As a result, they will be more engaged with your website and move on to your intended navigation.
The Sum and the substance
Mistakes are creative. Your developers can make any new one at any point in time and drag you into a pit filled with lawsuits, a high bounce rate, and, ultimately, low sales. Hence, as a general thumb rule, you can focus on the needs of specially-abled people. Usually, there are four types of impairments–visual impairment, mobility issues, auditory impairment, and cognitive impairment.
You can chart out a plan that helps your developers develop a website that is friendly to all sets of people, thereby making your website more accessible and relevant in the age of inclusivity.
Brijesh Jakharia co-founded SPINX Digital in 2005 and takes great pride in crafting web and mobile marketing solutions for mid-market businesses to enterprises. Marketing is his passion, and the thrill to build a brand from the ground up has helped him craft successful brand stories for world-class clients. While not at work, he loves to spend his time on research and reading digital content stories
Also Read: How Lead Scoring Affects An ecommerce Website Chances Of Success.