Accessibility and ADA compliance are growing concerns in online business, and for good reason. More than 40 million people in the US suffer a disability of some kind, from vision or hearing loss to cognitive or motor skill problems and more. The last few years have also seen a spike in web site accessibility lawsuits, raising the risks of non-compliance.
But building an accessible, ADA-compliant web site is about more than just staying out of trouble. It’s good for your brand and your business.
Here are 7 things an accessible web site can do:
Get better search results. Search engines reward sites that have their affairs in order. When page elements like headers, titles and image alt text are complete and optimized, and when language is clear, the site automatically becomes more SEO-friendly.
Reach wider audiences. The 40 million people mentioned above? Like anyone else, they’re looking for and loyal to brands that make their life easier. Sites that are as inclusive as possible are seizing a significant opportunity.
Demonstrate consumer empathy. Connecting with your audience is at the very heart of good branding. Anytime you listen and understand the experience from consumers’ point of view, you strengthen that bond.
Align with your brand’s core values. Brands generally don’t set out to alienate, frustrate, confuse or turn people away. Stick close to your stated values with a more welcoming web site and you’re more likely to build credibility and deliver on your brand promise.
Offer a better user experience. Simpler navigation, more contextual information, more predictable interaction, content that’s easier to access and understand – any improvement that enhances usability for people with disabilities will create a better experience for everyone.
Promote clean, efficient coding. Screen readers and other assistive technology work best with well-designed code, complete and meaningful page information, and a structured scheme. All hallmarks of successful programming.
Build goodwill. Being inclusive and accessible is simply the right thing to do.