Bridging Web Accessibility & Online Business Success

10 min
Posted by: Reaction
Last Updated: January 18, 2024
Bridging Web Accessibility & Online Business Success Image

It’s been said thousands of times that “your website often serves as the first point of contact with potential customers.” That makes accessibility on the web more than just for inclusivity but also a smart business strategy. 

Navigating the realm of website accessibility can seem daunting. From understanding complex guidelines to implementing changes without disrupting your current setup, the challenges are real!

This blog aims to unmask web accessibility, linking it directly to enhanced website performance and addressing common challenges you might face along the way. Whether you’re a small business or a growing enterprise, let this be your starting point for understanding and incorporating accessibility on your website.

A mockups of digital devices displaying various webpages. The largest screen shows a website titled 'Private Lend' with a tagline 'Where Investors & Brokers Find Direct Private Lenders' and an illustration of two people sitting at a table. To the left, a mobile device displays a page from 'Shift Occupational Health & Safety' with a purple banner. On the right, a tablet shows the interface of 'Android Headlines' with multiple articles and advertisements. The layout suggests a showcase of web design and user interface for different platforms.

Myths & Misconceptions: Clearing the Air on Web Accessibility

Before diving deeper, it’s essential to tackle some of the most common myths surrounding web accessibility.

Myth 1: Web Accessibility is Only for a Small Group of Users

Contrary to popular belief, web accessibility isn’t just for people with disabilities. It benefits everyone, including elderly users, those with temporary impairments, and even people in challenging situations, like bright sunlight or low internet connectivity.

Myth 2: Making a Website Accessible is Costly and Time-Consuming

While some aspects of accessibility might require a bit of investment, many improvements are simple and cost-effective. Often, these changes can be integrated into regular website updates and maintenance schedules. 

Myth 3: Accessibility Compromises Aesthetic Design

Accessibility and aesthetics are not mutually exclusive. An accessible website can still be visually appealing and on-brand. In fact, a well-designed, accessible website often leads to a better user experience for all visitors.

Reaching a Wider Audience: The Inclusive Path to Business Success

Embracing web accessibility is not just about industry compliance. It’s a strategic move that opens your business to a broader audience. 

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), approximately 16% of the world’s population experiences some form of disability. By making your website accessible, you’re not just complying with ethical standards but also tapping into a significant market segment often overlooked.

Additionally, focusing on accessibility demonstrates social responsibility and can enhance your brand image. In today’s socially conscious market, businesses that prioritize inclusivity and accessibility are often viewed more favourably, helping you stand out in a competitive landscape.

A layout featuring three distinct sections related to website design. On the left, a gray card with a sample headline that reads 'This headline has ten words and can use three lines' followed by a subheading and placeholder text. In the middle, a 'Contact Us' form with fields for first name, last name, email, and phone number, including instructions for response time and immediate assistance. On the right, four buttons with different calls to action: 'GIVE US A CALL' in red, 'Work With Us' in blue, 'CONTACT SALES' in orange, and 'VIEW SERVICES' in green, demonstrating various button designs for a website.

Website Accessibility Benefits: Beyond Compliance & Toward Enhanced Website Performance

The advantages of incorporating accessibility into your website extend beyond industry compliance. 

First, it significantly improves the overall user experience. An accessible website is often easier to navigate, more intuitive, and user-friendly for all visitors, not just those with disabilities. 

Think of an individual who just broke their dominant arm, and they’re now in a sling for 4-6 weeks. As simple as this disability, they might have to look up and down from the monitor to the mouse, to the keyboard, and back again several times just to browse a website and fill out a form. 

Features that make a website more accessible (and user-friendly) include:

  • Intuitive navigation
  • Descriptive link and CTA text
  • Proper heading structure
  • Alt text for images and media
  • Clearly labelled lead/contact forms

This enhanced usability can lead to longer session durations, lower bounce rates, and potentially higher conversion rates.

Second, It’s also common knowledge that search engines favour websites that are user-friendly. This means that by focusing on accessibility integration, you’re also improving your site’s visibility and rank on organic search results.

Legal Compliance: Navigating the Requirements

Canada and the USA have different regulations and standards when it comes to web accessibility, and you should always consult with a legal advisor with regard to compliance.

In our experience, industries that likely require accessibility compliance are:

  • Healthcare
  • Government
  • Education
  • Not-for-profit
  • Private sectors that receive government funding

Laws and regulations regarding website accessibility can even vary by region, but the trend is increasingly towards stricter enforcement across all industries of business.

While the specifics of legal compliance can be complex, and you should always follow the advice of a legal professional, the gist is clear: accessibility is no longer optional but a necessary aspect of website development.

A webpage header for 'CAMIS' with a navigation bar including 'ABOUT CAMIS', 'SERVICES', 'KNOWLEDGE CENTER', 'MORE', and a 'CONTACT US' button. The background is blurred, focusing attention on the clear, organized service offerings.

Simple Accessibility Features: Easy Wins for Every Business

Implementing web accessibility doesn’t have to be overwhelming. Here are some simple yet effective features that any business can incorporate into their website:

  1. Alt Text for Images: Provide descriptive text for images, which helps screen readers describe images to visually impaired users.
  2. Keyboard Navigation: Ensure your website can be navigated using a keyboard alone, catering to users who cannot use a mouse.
  3. Contrast and Colour: Use high contrast between text and backgrounds and avoid conveying information with colour and media alone.
  4. Clear and Consistent Navigation: Organize your website in a logical way and maintain consistent navigation across pages.
  5. Clearly Formatted Lead Forms: Label form fields correctly and provide error and success messages to guide the user to completion.
  6. Page Content Organization: Headlines should be descriptive, and body content should be easy to read.

By starting with these fundamental areas, you can significantly enhance the accessibility of your website, benefitting a wide range of users. And if it’s required in your industry, adhering to at least WCAG double AA (AA) standards is what your company should strive for.

Embracing Accessibility as a Cornerstone of Business Success

While the path to web accessibility might present challenges, the benefits it brings are substantial and far-reaching. 

Remember, an accessible website is not just a legal or ethical obligation. It’s a powerful tool in your business arsenal, opening doors to wider audiences and opportunities. 

At our agency, we’ve integrated accessibility features across hundreds of pages and websites. By staying informed and proactive, you can ensure that your website remains accessible, inclusive, and successful.

We’re here to help.

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