By Sam Stemler
Web accessibility primarily helps people with disabilities to use websites equally with abled users. However, instituting a web accessibility policy can also have other benefits. Your user experience, SEO, the versatility of your site and your site’s speed can all improve when you use web accessibility best practices. If you’re not sure if web accessibility testing is worthwhile for your business, here are 6 benefits of web accessibility you should know about.
6 Benefits of Web Accessibility You Should Know About
1. Improved Mobile Usability
For your website accessibility to be successful, users should be able to magnify the screen. This helps users with vision loss see a website more clearly. This capability can also help with mobile usability. Magnifying content on a large screen and showing content on a smaller, smartphone screen are very similar. If your site can do one of these, it can easily do the other.
Responsive sites are made to easily switch between mobile and desktop interfaces. If your site is responsive, it can also be easily magnified. Since the majority of Google searches are now made from a mobile device, this is a great additional benefit of web accessibility. If your site isn’t mobile-friendly yet, now is a good time to make the change, and improve your web accessibility at the same time.
2. Usable on a ‘Bumpy Bus’
Another important benefit of web accessibility is the ability to access the site under less-than-ideal conditions. A common scenario is the ‘bumpy bus.’ A user may be trying to access your site on their smartphone while riding a bus, but the bumps in the road cause them to continually tap the wrong button. A user who struggles with motor control might have a similar experience. The ability to magnify the screen or use alternative controls to scroll through buttons can help make this experience easier for both users.
3. Better User Experience
When color contrast is low, fonts are too small, menus don’t open properly, and links aren’t clear, the result is a bad user experience for everyone. When users visit your site, these elements immediately jump out of them, and they’re unlikely to linger on your site unless they absolutely have to. These types of sites are frustrating for everyone to use, and particularly frustrating for people who use the web with assistive technologies.
4. Improved SEO
Many different factors play into search engine optimization (SEO), including a good user experience, content, links, and keywords. By improving the user experience on your site, users will want to stay longer, which can improve SEO. Adding alternative text (alt text) to images, removing broken links, and linking text properly can all improve SEO and improve web accessibility. Fixing many of the most common accessibility problems have the added benefit of improving SEO.
5. Less Liability
In 2018, over 2,250 web accessibility lawsuits were filed in the U.S. This number will likely continue to grow. By improving web accessibility now and creating a plan for maintaining it, you reduce your chances of a costly and time-consuming lawsuit.
6. Usable for All
The primary and most obvious benefit of web accessibility is that your website and web services are accessible to all patrons. By making a few changes to your website layout or how you add content, you can make the difference between a site that is easy to use and enjoyable for everyone, or frustrating and difficult. By keeping web accessibility in mind, your website and online services are available to the maximum number of users.
Web accessibility is a part of online best practices, and using the principles of web accessibility has multiple benefits. Web accessibility does not have to be complicated. With basic testing and a few proactive policies, you can make your site accessible.