The internet has been built on the notion of creating equal opportunities for everyone, including persons with disabilities (PWDs). Almost one in seven people have some type of a disability that might limit their ability to interact with websites. There are varying accessibility barriers that make it quite hard for millions of PWDs across the planet to use and access websites independently. In simple terms, web accessibility refers to the configuration of online products, services and facilities to make them usable and navigable for everyone, including individuals having hearing, vision, motor and cognitive conditions. Companies like AccessiBe are known to offer resources that help people to build accessible websites.
The web should be inclusive. It needs to be accessible to all, including people having permanent or temporary disabilities or situational disabilities. People who are visually impaired ideally use screen readers, the deaf use indexed transcripts to understand the content on the web, while mute individuals can join online discussions with the help of blogs and comments. There are multiple digital features and provisions available that allow PWDs to actively take part in the society.
Making their website accessible is important for businesses of all types and sizes, as it allows them to expand their reach and acquire more customers. Making website accessible also delivers better user experience not just for the disabled, but for just about anyone on the web. Incorporating web accessibility aspects into their website often allows small businesses to rank better on search engines, optimize the overall performance of their website, improve conversion rates, as well as create more loyal and satisfied users. Hence, small businesses can get the chance to grow their venture considerably by making their website accessible.
Making the web accessible to all is dependent on multiple important components working together, including web technologies, authoring tools, web browsers and other “user agents. One needs to follow
international standards for web accessibility like WCAG 2.1, which were developed for the purpose of providing technical specifications, guidelines, techniques and resources for accessibility solutions.
Understanding the importance of web accessibility is more than a moral and ethical obligation. Of course making websites accessible does bring a positive impact and eliminates discrimination against those with disabilities, but it can also benefit a business directly. Optimizing their site to be fully accessible aids in avoiding expensive litigations, while also offering a variety of practical advantages like repeat visitors and loyal users. Businesses can always seek out the assistance of companies like AccessiBe to create accessible websites. Beyond this, one should also publish a web accessibility statement on their website to express support for accessibility and avoid legal consequences for non-compliance. Such a statement would affirm the commitment of the company and their intent when it comes to making their website accessible for everyone. Prior to redesigning or developing their website, it will be a good idea for any small businesses to take into consideration the aspect of web accessibility.