Your business' website can serve two functions: it can be both part of a powerful marketing strategy, as well as a place for you to do business with your customers. For these reasons, it's important that your customers can access your website.
To most users, your website may seem well designed and easy-to-use, but this may not be true for all users. People with certain disabilities, such as dyslexia or impaired vision, may find that some websites are difficult or impossible for them to use. Making sure a website can be used by everyone, including people with various special needs, is known as web accessibility, and there's a good business argument for keeping your website accessible.
People with different needs may occasionally encounter barriers accessing services, both in the physical world and online. Just as a physical store may create a handicap accessible space for those that are differently abled, an online store can make accommodations as well.
Accessible web design is about removing as many barriers as possible for differently abled clients. Barriers prevent potential customers from giving you their business. Removing obstacles could boost your sales.
Whether you're developing a website for the first time, or you're working on an existing site, it pays to make sure that people, of all abilities, can perceive, use, and understand your website. Some simple steps you could take include:
- Keep text large and clear, with enough contrast against the background. This helps people with reduced vision to read your website.
- Provide descriptive page titles and alternative text for images that screen readers can read. This helps people who use software to have text read aloud to them get a better idea of the visual elements on a page.
- Transcribe any audio or video. This helps people with hearing impairments to know what is being said.
- Make your website easily navigable with just a keyboard. This can help people with limited mobility or visual impairments to use your website where pointing and clicking with a mouse is not an option.
These simple steps could greatly improve your site's accessibility.
Keeping the web accessible is more than just a good thing to do, it's good business sense.