Why You Should Be Very Bothered About Website Accessibility
Is your website legal? So nobody can just come along and shout: “Hey, I can’t use your website! You’re discriminating against me under the Equalities Act 2010!”
I guess you are thinking now “What the heck?” Simply because you probably thought that accessibility regulations only applied to buildings.
Botheration Point #1 – Legal Requirement
Under the Equality Act 2010, your website has to be accessible to all users, and that includes people with impairments such as dyslexia, autism, blindness, deafness or lacking in motor skills.
Botheration Point #2 – Fairness & Equality
Everybody should be treated fair and equal in our society, and this particularly applies to our current lockdown status. Our contact with the outside world has moved to the digital landscape. This landscape should be open to all.
Botheration Point #3 – Commercial Opportunity
It also makes sense from a commercial viewpoint. If your website isn’t accessible to people with impairments, then what are the chances that they and their friends and family become fans of your business and buy from you? Zero!
Currently, one in five people are registered as disabled in the UK, and only 30% of websites are accessible to them. Businesses are missing out on the huge spending power of these potential customers! The “purple pound” was estimated to be £249 billion a year by the BBC in 2017. The “click-away pound” has risen to £17.1 billion in 2019, the value of the potential lost business when disabled customers leave a site because of accessibility issues. Who can afford to ignore the potential increase in turnover here on fixing this?
Botheration Point #4 – SEO
Having a fully accessible website will also positively affect your best practices and usability scores, going a long way with your search engine optimisation (SEO).
Website Accessibility – Current Status Quo
Sadly, 70% of UK websites are still inaccessible, which means:
- Dyslexic or autistic people cannot access them adequately because they have difficulty deciphering serif fonts (“fancy” fonts) or lengthy paragraphs not broken up into small chunks or bullet points.
- Screen readers cannot access them. They scan and read out the logical flow of the text content and descriptions of the images on a website to help sight-impaired people with navigating through a site. If the alternative text (Alt-tag) for images and a header structure (H1, H2, H3, etc.) are missing, the device cannot read the site content adequately.
- People who lack motor skills, preventing them from using a mouse or trackpad, cannot navigate the site by using only the keyboard as the site was not designed that way.
- Colour-blind people who cannot see text that sits within boxes of a particular colour have great difficulty understanding the site content. The contrast ratio on the site is inadequate.
- Deaf people are often forgotten when telephone numbers are the only contact option. Or, if you offer video chat without a captions option.
There is a good chance that your website is one of the 70% if it is not designed to accommodate users who have cognitive, visual or motor difficulties.
Check Your Site for Website Accessibility
So, how can you check whether your web developer has created an accessible site for you?
There are online tools available that give your website a score for accessibility. For accuracy, I would recommend the free Wave Website Evaluation Tool.
By entering your URL (domain name) into the audit scan, you can see the errors on your website and click on ‘details’ to view the issues one by one.
If you have found that your website has many errors after running the evaluation scan, you should check out the options available to fix your site.
Website Accessibility shouldn’t be something that empties your already slim wallet or gives you more headache. You should see it as an opportunity to make your website legal, open up a new customer base and doing something good for the disadvantaged people in our society.
As Website Accessibility specialist and advocates, we can provide you with redesign and redevelopment as well as AI-powered software solutions to make your website fully accessible. We can also offer you professional manual audits and certification services.
We would love to help you find out what would be the best solution for your business. Feel free to get in touch for some free advice.
We are keen to change the digital landscape into an equal playing field for everyone and are always happy to help.