Web accessibility is a major initiative in the Internet world. Trade organizations, industry websites, and university communications departments all include web accessibility as a chapter in the web design handbook. The websites for corporations, government entities, sole proprietorships, and non-profit agencies are held to a set of standards that ensures equal access to the Internet.
Simply put, web accessibility amounts to how universally available your website is. Consider those with disabilities. For someone who is legally blind yet can still see a monitor, miniscule fonts will in effect lock him out of your site. If an individual is deaf, and you have non-signified audio messages on your site, the important information in that audio becomes in effect withheld from that individual. Web accessibility is the concept of overcoming these barriers through the appropriate programming and design techniques.
Step 1: Understand the Expectations and Your Obligations
Why Web Accessibility?
Web accessibility is an important consideration for your financials. According to HHS, approximately 54 million Americans are living with a disability. With a total US population of 315 million, that 54 million amounts to 17% of the general public that can’t use your website. This affects your bottom line in three ways:
- What if you’re selling your product on your website? Can you operate without 17% of your revenue? If your site has excessive accessibility barriers, that’s exactly what you’re doing.
- By shutting out this segment of the population, you are both refusing to market to them and denying them the services they seek. This can be construed as discrimination, which can lead to a reputation that will tarnish your image and hurt sales. Today’s social media climate can expedite this at light speed.
- Web accessibility could boost your online traffic by as much as 17%. Remember, the more people your site attracts, and the longer those people spend on your site, the more marketable your site is to advertisers. Therefore, even if you’re not selling through your site directly, you can increase the value of your ad inventory due to the increased traffic. Read the rest of this entry »