A typewriter types the words 'Accessible WEB' on a blank sheet of paper
Mar 04 2024

Why Web Accessibility Matters

There’s no denying that the digital universe is an exciting place teeming with information and services, all at our fingertips. But not everyone finds this universe equally navigable. That’s where web accessibility can help.

 

So, why does web accessibility matter? Well, it’s the linchpin that levels everyone up. It means that everyone can get equal access to the internet, regardless of any physical or cognitive differences. It’s about ensuring that the internet doesn’t become an exclusive club but remains an inclusive space for everyone.

 

Web accessibility isn’t just a good-to-have feature anymore. These days, with the fantastic progress being made in terms of inclusivity around the world, it’s a must.

 

A Closer Look at Web Accessibility

Understanding the importance of web accessibility means getting to grips with the details. In its purest form, web accessibility is about making the internet usable for everyone. Sounds simple, right? Well, yes and no.

 

Web accessibility is about designing websites, tools, and techs to be usable by people with a wide range of disabilities. It means that these digital platforms are designed and developed so that people with disabilities can use them without barriers. These might include visual, motor, auditory, speech, or cognitive differences.

Girl signing on accessible website - Why Web Accessibility Matters

It’s not just about creating ways to navigate a website.

It’s about ensuring that information is presented in a way that can be consumed by all. For example, providing text alternatives for images, captions for videos, or making sure a website can be navigated using voice commands.

 

Web accessibility isn’t only beneficial for people with disabilities. It improves the user experience for everyone by making websites more intuitive and easier to navigate.

 

Let’s Talk About How Web Accessibility Promotes Inclusivity

The internet has become our global town square. It’s a place for commerce, communication, and information. This means ensuring that everyone can participate equally online is just as important as doing so in the real world.

Exclusion from space means more than just missing out on meme trends – it can mean being cut off from essential services, opportunities, and connections.

 

Web accessibility promotes inclusivity by ensuring that no one is left out because of their disability.

This goes beyond just providing ramps for wheelchair users or braille people with visual impairments. It’s about ensuring that every digital door is open to everyone and that all online information is reachable and comprehensible, regardless of how one interacts with the web.

 

What’s the Situation at the Moment?

In a nutshell – the industry needs to do better. While the importance of web accessibility is gaining traction globally, there’s still a lot to improve on.

 

According to stats from WebAIM, 86.4% of homepages have low-contrast text that falls below Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) thresholds. This is the most commonly-detected accessibility issue on sites at the moment.

 

The research also found that 26% of images on home pages were missing alt text and that shopping sites still featured, on average, 75.2 accessibility errors.

 

It’s corroborated, too, with AbilityNet finding that up to 90% of all websites are ‘unusable’ for people using assistive technology.

 

These shortcomings have a profound impact on the consumer.

For users and customers with disabilities, the feeling of being excluded from these sites can be severely damaging. A survey found that more than half of all responses have mentioned frustration as one of the key emotions in response to poor web accessibility. Others described feeling anxious, upset, deflated, and stupid.

 

Nobody should feel like this – especially when trying to connect with friends and family, carrying out important admin, or just relaxing with their favourite blog.

Frustrated user on inaccessible website - Why Web Accessibility Matters

How Can We Improve Web Accessibility?

It’s important to remember that improving inclusivity in this way doesn’t have to be a compromise to other users. Web accessibility can enhance and promote the user experience, levelling up everyone’s time online.

 

Remember – what’s essential for some is useful for all.

There really isn’t a downside to improving web accessibility, so let’s take a look at how we can make the internet a more inclusive space.

 

Good Contrast Colour Combos

An accessible website should have a good contrast between text colour and background colour. Whether it’s icons, buttons, links, or just the general text – keep one dark and the other light.

 

For people with low vision or visual impairments, this is a must. But it’s also handy for older people (our colour sensitivity tends to decline with age) and people accessing in different light conditions.

SCOPE colour contrast guide - Why Web Accessibility Matters

Above: Examples of inclusive and exclusive colour contrast.

Credit: Scope

 

Make Good Use of Closed Captions

Closed captions on videos are a bit like subtitles, but they usually include sounds and background noise, too. These can help deaf people or those with hearing or cognitive impairments to understand what’s happening in a video.

 

That said, they’re also really handy for people with ADHD or those who prefer to watch videos with little to no sound due to sensory overload or migraines.

 

Write in Simple Language

Keep your sentences short and to the point. This ensures that people with learning difficulties, cognitive impairment, or differences like dyslexia or chronic fatigue can better access the information. A good rule of thumb is to try to write how you speak.

 

It’s also handy for non-disabled users. Studies show that the average reading age in the UK is nine years old. By keeping your copy clear and concise, you’re broadening its reach.

 

Looking for Support in Building an Accessible Website?

We believe the digital world should be accessible to all. Our web design and development services can help you make your site a champion of inclusivity. We try to make online spaces where everyone is welcome.

 

From intuitive designs to robust development, we’re committed to making the web a better place. Get in touch with us today for more information about how we can make your website great for everyone.

Web accessibility CTA image - Why Web Accessibility Matters

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Simon Emmins

With print, branding and web design skills under his belt, Si will keep you updated with any new developments and innovative tricks of the trade. Inspiring you to think a little more creatively, Si could be the difference between good and bloody amazing!

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