The internet is a powerful tool that has made incredible changes in most people’s daily lives. It drives business and creates a more informed population than has ever existed. The Internet has become a service on which most people rely to meet their needs, including searching for a job, taking classes, and even buying household products. However, nearly 50 million people living with a disability in the United States are only able to use a small fraction of the websites available. That’s where having an ADA compliant website comes into play.
Many people have never given any thought to how to make a website ada compliant, which has made it incredibly challenging for people living with disabilities to go online. Since the Internet is a necessity, this lack of access reduces their overall quality of life. To help individuals understand this issue, below is an explanation of web accessibility and why it matters.
What is Web Accessibility?
Web accessibility is defined most simply as making a website usable for people with disabilities. This means they should be able to read, comprehend, and interact with content on the web. They should also be able to add their own content to the internet easily.
The types of disabilities that need website accommodations vary widely and can include individuals with visual, auditory, cognitive, physical, or speech impairments. These conditions can be permanent or life-long, but any time spent without the ability to access information online can have a severe negative impact on a person’s quality of life.
Why Accessibility Matters
It may seem difficult to provide accommodations for such a wide range of disabilities, but doing so is of paramount importance. The large number of people being excluded from the internet means a vast population being shut out before they have a chance to become customers. No business wants to see customers turned away at the door, so creating an accessible website allows these individuals to access their product or service. Not only does this increase revenue, but the brand will be viewed by the public in a more positive light.
From a digital marketing perspective, improving the accessibility of a website can also boost the website’s search engine optimization (SEO). Much of the work involved in making a site accessible to individuals with a disability is making it easier to navigate. Since search engines are not that great at sorting through images, so websites with simplified and text-based information get higher priority than those that do not.
Finally, and possibly most importantly, are the legal ramifications a company may face if they fail to create an ADA compliant website. Companies run the risk of being sued if their website is not easily accessed by those with disabilities. Creating a disability-friendly website protects them against lawsuits and compliance grievances.
The Bottom Line
Website accessibility is an extremely important part of building a successful website. Brands should not leave out the millions of users living with a disability. Doing so could limit the profitability of their product or service, give their brand a negative reputation in the eyes of millions of internet users, and cause them to face legal ramifications in the future. Creating an accessible website doesn’t have to be difficult. There are many services available to help brands make this happen easily.