Why is Web Accessibility So Important?
Web accessibility should be one of the key concepts to consider when building your website. This article breaks down the importance of online accessibility and why it should be a top focus for anyone considering creating their own website.
Before we delve into the specifics of what accessibility means within the online world, we should first examine the term accessibility in general. According to Google, accessibility involves “the quality of being easy to obtain or use”. This suggests that there is also an element of inclusivity involved, where accessibility means a concept should be open for all to be able to use, regardless of skills, background and intelligence.
What is Web Accessibility?
Web accessibility is defined as the “inclusive practice of ensuring there are no barriers that prevent interaction with, or access to, websites by people with physical disabilities and situational disabilities”. As the internet is a tool that has been made available for all people around the world to engage with, it is important that online users have equal opportunity to use websites and that their user experience is to the same standard. A website that is accessible ensures that access to interactions and information is the same experience for anyone visiting the site.
With this in mind, it can be important to focus on individuals with disabilities to hone in on accessibility within a website. Website creators can examine physical disabilities of the individual to target that may hinder their user experience if not catered for. For example, font colours need to contrast well with background colours for ease of reading, which may be particularly important for users with sight issues or dyslexia. Provisions for situational disabilities can also be easily put into place, such as enabling your website to function under slow internet speeds.
Why is Web Accessibility Important?
Web accessibility allows for a wider reach
Easy-to-use websites optimise user experience
Reduction in maintenance costs
Accessibility is a legal requirement
1 Web accessibility allows for a wider reach
Websites with an accessible design are those that can be modified to meet the requirements of a wide range of users. The more specific needs of individuals that are targeted through the design, the wider the variety of users that can engage with the website. A website that is easy to use will encourage users to flock to your website if it means the information they are looking for will be sought after faster.
2 Easy-to-use websites optimise user experience
When users are navigating through your website, it is crucial that they don’t encounter any barriers to their experience. For example, having a page within your website that differs in main body text font size from other pages can reduce the readability of your content.
Some other examples of web accessibility options that benefit everyone include:
Closed captions that describe the above image or video to those with challenged eyesight. This feature has been recently added to instagram where creators have the option to describe in rich detail what users are looking at within a post.
Colour contrast between font and background. This also allows users with visual impairments to engage effectively with the content on your website, as well as those with dyslexia who struggle to read text depending on the colour of background.
3 Reduction in maintenance costs
Cleaner code is one of the hallmarks of an accessible website, and it can lead to faster load times, fewer errors, and higher rankings in search engines. Costs associated with development and upkeep could go down when you're ready to implement new functionality, update existing content, or redesign your site.
4 Accessibility is a legal requirement
As much as it would be nice for the importance of web accessibility to be centred around making things easier for users, which it mostly is, it cannot be ignored that it is an obligation. Legal ramifications can occur if a user with a particular disability engages with your website and is not able to get as far with someone without the same disability. Within the UK, the European Accessibility Act (EAA) holds website creators to a promise of ensuring their site can be used by all and for all.
Hopefully from making your way through this article, you have garnered the right knowledge to ensure your own website creations are accessible and inclusive for all users.
For any questions and queries with regards to web accessibility, please contact us here.