If your business wants to build a website, you might be wondering what is accessibility in web development? As the reach of the Internet continues to expand into nearly every facet of daily life, web accessibility has never been more important to web development projects. Accessible websites reach more users, and therefore, help increase the reach of your web content.
There is a strong business case for developing an accessible website, and it is important that your web developers follow the latest web content accessibility guidelines. This post will explain what web accessibility is and why web developers should think about web accessibility guidelines during the design and development process.
What Is Web Accessibility?
Web accessibility is a term that refers to the design and development of websites and web technologies so that people with disabilities can use them. Accessible websites remove barriers and give people with disabilities the ability to contribute to the Internet and access important services. An accessible site is perceivable, understandable, interactive, and navigable for everyone.
Web accessibility addresses any condition that might affect a user’s ability to use or access the Internet, including visual, auditory, neurological, physical, speech, and cognitive impairments. Your users come from diverse backgrounds and possess a varied set of abilities. It is important to provide everyone with equal access and opportunities to web resources. The Internet and web technologies are more adept at overcoming the accessibility barriers created by traditional print, visual, or audio content.
Interestingly, web accessibility also refers to social inclusion and access to web resources for the elderly, people living in developing countries, and people living in rural areas with limited resources. Furthermore, there are several ways accessible web content can be beneficial to users without disabilities too.
For example, if you are in an area of bright light, like at the beach, or in an environment where you cannot listen to audio, accessible website design can be very helpful. Additionally, suppose you have a poor connection to the Internet or limited bandwidth. In that case, accessible features can ensure that you can get the information and complete the actions you want. These are just a few examples of how web accessibility features can be useful to everyone.
Web accessibility helps increase the number of people who can access your website and application. From a business perspective, it is always best to encourage more people to use your digital assets and interact with your brand.
The Business Case for Web Accessibility
Whether you are an educational institution, a non-profit, a commercial business, or any other type of organization that is interested in building a website or application, you have to justify spending time and money on a project, goal, etc. In this context, we are using the term “business case” to refer to the justification for accessible website design.
There are several good business cases you could make for web accessibility, including:
- Market expansion
- Legal compliance
- Brand enhancement
- Drive innovation
Attracting and retaining more users is a significant benefit of accessible websites. As medical technology improves and life expectancy rates increase, larger portions of the population will require assistive technologies and accessible sites as they age. There is a huge market for accessible web content and accessible rich Internet applications.
Your organization can expand its reach by offering your users accessibility features. In addition to providing important access to people with disabilities, app design with web accessibility in mind typically creates a better general User Experience. Furthermore, as we have already mentioned in a previous section, web accessibility can prove useful to users without disabilities who find themselves in a bright, loud, or otherwise compromised environment.
In the long run, designing your website or app with accessibility in mind will help your organization reach more users.
Sometimes failure to act can have costly consequences for your organization. The world we live in is increasingly digital. The modern world is driven in many respects by the Internet and online services. As a result, many governmental bodies, agencies, etc., around the world have enacted regulations that protect the rights of people who live with disabilities.
In America, for example, many courts cite the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) when suits are filed against non-accessible websites and apps. Failing to account for web accessibility could cost your organization time and money as legal proceedings play out. In several countries around the world, like Norway, it is illegal to fail to provide equivalent web access to people with disabilities.
In the United States, web accessibility regulations are murky, but courts consistently rule in favor of equal access. Keeping web accessibility at the forefront of your web development project can help you avoid litigation later.
Brand image is very important in the modern world. Committing to web accessibility demonstrates a sense of responsibility and a commitment to equitable access for all. These actions can lead to a greater sense of brand loyalty from your customers and help generate more sales.
Today’s culture puts a high value on diversity and inclusion. Brands that demonstrate a willingness to be inclusive will attract more customers.
If your organization wants to innovate, thinking about web accessibility is a great way to move in the right direction. Accessible design needs to think outside the box and provide users flexible options for website and app interaction. Focusing on creating a more accessible product for your users with disabilities will help you create a product that is more natural and human-focused.
Remember, web accessibility is not too far removed from general usability. Simple, intuitive User Interface elements and designs delight all users. Designing digital products with accessibility in mind can help you create a better, more intuitive User Experience in general.
Web accessibility is important because it offers everyone an equal opportunity to enjoy the unique benefits of the Internet. If your organization is interested in exploring accessibility in more detail, reach out to an app development partner. We hope this post was informative and helped answer the question, what is accessibility in web development?