“The power of the web is in its universality.
Access by everyone, regardless of disability, is an essential aspect.”
Tim Berners-Lee, W3C Director and inventor of the World Wide Web
When you established your online business, your aim was to reach as many people as possible. That means that your website needs to be accessible to everyone. Anyone should be able to use it, irrespective of age, ability, location, education, or technology.
But did you ever stop to wonder if your website is truly accessible to all?
Your main concern should be for individuals with disabilities or those living in less developed countries with no access to high-speed internet.
If you’re not sure of the answer, consider the following essential criteria that define what an accessible website must be:
- Perceivable – people should be able to find and process the information on it.
- Operable – people should be able to navigate and use it effortlessly.
- Understandable – people should be able to understand all information.
- Robust – the website should be able to adapt and evolve in order to meet the users’ needs.
You need to keep auditing your website to ensure it is accessible. However, continuously scanning, fixing, and updating a website can be overwhelming. Now, automated solutions are solving web accessibility with AI. This task is getting easier. Moreover, you have no excuse not to have an accessible website.
Website accessibility is not altogether a new concept
But it’s definitely gained a lot of traction lately. There are numerous reasons why it’s currently in the limelight. By the time you finish reading this blog, you’ll understand just why you need to ensure your website is accessible.
1. Accessible websites are in demand
Did you know that:
- 15-20% of the world’s population has permanent disabilities such as visual, mobility, or neurological impairments.
- The average lifespan is increasing, so age-related impairments are on the rise. 9% of the global population is aged 65 and over. But it is the fastest-growing age group. By 2050, it will increase to 16%, where 1 in 6 people will be 65+.
- Uncountable people have temporary impairments, such as a broken arm or misplaced reading glasses.
- 90% of the world’s population lives in developing countries.
As you can see, there’s a huge demand for websites that offer an inclusive design.
2. You’re missing a sizeable portion of the target audience
As you’ve probably figured out from the above statistics, a considerable portion of your consumer base requires accessible websites on a daily basis. If consumers cannot access the information on your website or the products you’re selling, they will simply find another site that is easier to use and caters to their specific needs.
71% will leave a site that’s not accessible. Not only are you losing customers, but you’re practically handing them over to your competitors.
In case you haven’t noticed, people are relying on digital interactions more than ever. So whether a person wants to order groceries or access their banking information, your website needs to be as easily accessible by everyone as a physical public space.
4. It’s an easy way to satisfy your customers
People demand a seamless, intuitive, and memorable online experience. A site that’s easy to navigate and use is bound to please a lot of visitors.
But when it comes to users with permanent disabilities, an accessible website is a necessity. According to Daryn Harpaz, Founder and CEO of Zenyth Group, more than 85% of websites do not offer an inclusive experience. So by aligning your website with their needs, you’ve just won them over.
5. Foster growth
Online businesses need to grow in order to remain profitable and competitive. By reaching out to people with disabilities, you are expanding your consumer base.
6. Enhancing loyalty
Happy customers will keep coming back to your website. After all, it’s not easy to find a site that understands their challenges and limitations. According to a Click-Away Pound Survey, 80% of people with disabilities will continue to support a brand that has an accessible website by continuing to shop on it. More importantly, they are very loyal customers, often becoming brand ambassadors.
7. Increase in revenue
When your website makes it easy to browse and shop, visitors will continue to use it. And the longer they remain onsite, the greater the chances of conversion. 81% are willing to buy a product even if it costs more from an accessible website than to purchase the same product from an inaccessible website.
But to strike the point home, consider this fact. The disability community has a lot of spending power—$ 490 billion, to be exact. So you want to be a brand that caters to this target audience.
Remember that loyal customers are great repeat customers, so they’ll keep coming back. Since it costs 5 times more to acquire new customers than it does to retain one, your website is adding to your profitability.
8. Improve CX
Being aware of common pain points that your customers have can help you improve their online experience. Here is a list of issues that people often face. Working to overcome them is sure to make your customer happy and your website more accessible.
9. Boost your brand image
A website that is accessible exhibits social responsibility. Users know that you’ve taken the time and money to care about them by creating an inclusive design. And this is great for your brand image.
10. Improves your SEO campaign
A clean web design, straightforward navigation, clear website structure, use of alt texts, and video transcripts are all crucial elements for improving UX. But did you know that these same features are necessary for SEO? By following Website Content Accessibility Guidelines, you can kill two birds with one stone- enhance web accessibility and increase SERPs rankings.
11. Avoid legal actions for noncompliance
If your website is found to be inaccessible to people with disabilities, you’re at risk of getting entangled in a lawsuit. You may end up paying millions in fines, not to mention the damage a lawsuit could do your brand reputation. Target, Dominos, and Nike have all faced legal repercussions because of noncompliance.
Cases against website accessibility have been on the rise in the past couple of years. There were 262 cases in 2016, and by 2019, there were 2235 cases filed. According to Daryn Harpaz, lawsuits are being filed at the rate of one per hour in America. Studies show that retail industries have taken the hardest hit.
Your website needs to be accessible- that much is pretty clear now. What’s more important is being able to ensure that it remains that way. Using tools to simplify this task will keep both you and your customers happy in the long run.