May 18th is Global Accessibility Awareness Day. It's an opportunity to talk about ways the web can be made more accessible. Accessible websites can help people with certain disabilities, such as those with visual impairments, use the internet. Making your website accessible can also help your business.  

For some people with disabilities, the internet removes barriers that would exist in the physical world. The internet lets people access products and services they could not otherwise have.  However, poor web design creates barriers that prevent people from fully benefiting from the internet. Good web design lets more people use your website. That could mean more potential customers.

A website can be a powerful marketing tool. Accessible web design could expand the reach of your website even more than you'd expect. Aside from helping people with disabilities, good design can also help mobile users, the elderly, and improve search engine optimization. All of this could drive customers to your business, boost sales, and inspire customer loyalty.

Designing for accessibility means making sure your site can be perceived, used, and understood by as many people as possible. Simple improvements include:

  • Keeping text large and clear, with enough contrast against the background
  • Providing descriptive page titles and alternative text for images that screen readers can read
  • Transcribing any audio or video
  • Making your website easily navigated with just a keyboard

There are plenty of other improvements a website could make. The Web Accessibility Initiative has a full set of guidelines.

Aside from being a good potential business decision, web accessibility can also be an obligation. If your website has accessibility barriers that result in lesser customer service for people with disabilities it could be grounds for an official complaint. Removing barriers, both physical and virtual, while also familiarizing yourself with any federal or provincial accessibility rules can help your business.

Growing your business and making the world a better place can go together. Better web accessibility lets more people benefit from the incredible potential of the internet.

See our posts for more information about developing a business website and the development process.