The Importance of Accessibility in Web Development
Nowadays, there is a world of information available at our fingertips but is this information equally available to everyone? The internet provides numerous possibilities for people with disabilities, as long as the information is presented in such a way that allows it to be accessible to them. Web accessibility is an important issue in Australia, where 20% of the population has some form of visual, hearing, cognitive or motor disability. Companies involved in web development in Melbourne and other major cities are now recognising this need more and looking at ways to ensure that websites can be reached by everyone, regardless of any limitations they may have.
In fact, in recent years, the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UN CRPD) has declared access to information and communications technologies, including the internet, as a basic human right. We may think we understand how important it is for the internet to be accessible to everyone in order to provide equal opportunity to people with diverse abilities. But do we understand the true importance of accessibility in web development and what it means for so many people?
Continue reading to learn more about the importance of accessibility in web design and why it is so important to so many people.
What Is Web Accessibility?
Accessibility is the inclusive practice of eliminating obstacles that block interaction with, or connection to websites, for people with disabilities. Websites that are correctly designed allow equal access to all people, with or without disabilities. There are many benefits to an accessible web design that can often be overlooked by developers who fail to recognise the importance of this issue.
Can you imagine a day in your life without the internet? Probably not. So why should people with disabilities have to? With websites available that are fully-accessible, they can do ordinary day-to-day things like learning, communicating, earning a living and so much more without the need to rely on other people. It is about increasing their independence and improving the quality of the lives of people in our communities.
In many countries, web accessibility is mandatory by law. Your business is subject to legal requirements and lawsuits can be filed if you don’t pay attention to the importance of web accessibility. More and more countries, Australia included, are becoming aware of this issue and have introduced laws that businesses need to conform to n order to avoid being penalised. Having an inaccessible website could result in expensive legal actions being taken against your business.
SEO or Search Engine Optimisation of your website will improve when you incorporate accessibility features. Search engines like Google and Bing crawl your images and recognise when they have accessibility components such as alt text implemented, which acts as a description of the image for visually impaired internet users. Search engines look favourably on these features, meaning you could rank higher in the search results, resulting in more traffic to your website.
Improve Usability For All Visitors
When implementing web accessibility practices, you are likely to increase the usability of your website for all your visitors. Having an accessible website, for example, makes access easier for mobile users, which is very important nowadays considering that this is one of the most rapidly growing customer groups out there. As well as that, websites that are accessible will function better for older customers with age-related accessibility needs.
Expand Your Reach
An accessible website can increase your audience up to 20% (the number of people with disabilities in Australia) and more if you count mobile users and those who will choose you over the competition for your social responsibility. Imagine the spending power of this market segment and the positive impact it can have on your business.
Into The Future Together
Web accessibility is so much more than just having websites accessible to people with disabilities. It also contributes to creating a website that is easier to use for all customers and helps it to remain consistent across different devices and screen sizes. In order to ensure your website is accessible to a larger audience, consider building your website to be compatible with screen readers, assistive scanning keyboards and other tools used by those with disabilities. With an accessible website, you will not only widen the reach of your business but you will ensure legal compliance, enjoy improved SEO and improve usability for every visitor to your site going forward.