Accessible websites can help more of your users than you think!
Have you ever wondered what the big fuss is about accessibility and if having an accessible website is really necessary? I am here to tell you that it is. You may think that the number of people with a disability requiring an accessible website is small, but the actual number of people who may benefit from an accessible site will probably surprise you.
The last US Census identified that 19% of the United States population is reported to have a disability. That is approximately 57 million people! 12.6% of that population are identified to have a severe disability.
Every person with a disability that leaves your site in frustration or confusion is a dollar lost.
– Kevin Rydberg
Who really benefits
Accessibility issues affect many more people than just those with an identified disability.
- Disabled population – users with vision, motor, auditory or cognitive disability; from mild to severe.
- Aging population – users often need captioning on videos or larger font sizes to read text
- English is not the user’s primary language – users may need extended time to read text and simpler content (preferably at a 9th grade reading level)
- Cognitive disabilities/limitations, or anxiety issues – these users may need easy to read fonts, and well organized text to help them stay focused. They also prefer well defined instructions about what will happen next or what is expected.
- Limited/low vision or color blindness – users may need to be able to zoom text or to have a high contrast between foreground and background colors in order to be able to read the text
- Situational disabilities – this can range from users trying to view a cell phone or laptop screen in the sunshine to a user who is in a loud construction zone and unable to hear videos.
- Temporary disabilities – someone who suffers from a head, hearing or eye injury or who suffers from something like a broken arm, may temporarily need alternative ways to access your web information while they are recovering.
- Heavy stress or low concentration – users are sometimes under heavy stress and not able to concentrate on every detail of information your website provides. They benefit from sites that are easy to use and navigate.
You should want your website to allow as many users as possible to have equal access to your information. The number of people who will benefit from being able to use your website in an accessible way is only going to increase. People are now living longer and technology advancements are allowing websites to be found easier and on more devices for people of all ages. Make sure that you are as accessible to ALL of your users as you can be.
Talk to your Account Director today to learn more about what an accessibility audit consists of and to schedule one for your website.
Learn more about AccessibilityWatch for an upcoming class on Accessibility
LATEST ACCESSIBILITY UPDATE (February 2018): As of December 26, 2017, proposed updates to ADA regulations were officially withdrawn by the DOJ. This means that for now, there is no set date to enforcing that the WCAG 2.0 Guidelines be turned into a testable set of requirements. However, if your business provides a “place of public accommodation”, it will be required to be made accessible to all people sooner or later. It is best to start the process now, before there are legal requirements and deadlines. Learn more about US accessibility policies.