Web Accessibility: Beginners Guide 2023
Access to the Internet was designed to be available to everyone, including persons with impairments or disabilities. Web accessibility is creating websites that can make the online experience fulfilling regardless of a person's hardware, software, language, location, and physical limitations.
What is Web Accessibility?
Web accessibility involves following specific website design principles that ensure people who have limitations or difficulties apart from a typical person can still have an inclusive and practical digital experience. Website design that incorporates web accessibility is an essential component for brands and marketers. The more online users retain a satisfying experience on a given website, the better it is for organic traffic, brand engagement, and other key performance metrics.
Indeed, for users with disabilities, digital accessibility is an essential component of the user experience. Website developers should prioritize accessibility from the initial design stage rather than waiting until later to attempt a retrofit solution; doing so creates more inclusive and compelling digital experiences for all your site visitors.
Who Needs Web Accessibility?
The primary purpose of web accessibility is to limit barriers to online experiences. Implementing web accessibility addresses the design needs of those with disabilities. These include:
Visual - refers to impaired vision, color blindness, or clinical blindness.
Motor - includes limited mobility on hands, which can affect the use of mouse, touchscreen, or trackpad.
Auditory - hearing impairments that require closed captions, or other content.
Cognitive - includes developmental disabilities that can limit a person's capacity to understand content or web navigation; can also refer to conditions like dyslexia and dyscalculia.
Photo-sensitivity - photo-sensitive epilepsy can impact how a person views flashy presentation and layout.
Website designers should also consider the needs of the elderly. Although age is not a disability, it can significantly affect web browsing abilities. Older online users may have hearing, sight, and mobility issues, which, while not necessarily in the realm of disability, will affect their browsing experience. Brands that want to maximize their exposure and social responsibility must consider the older generations.
Web Accessibility Prevalence
Most companies now consider web accessibility as part of the main features of their site, and rightly so because over half (59.6%) of people with disabilities worldwide have Internet access in their respective households. This equates to millions of people who have vision impairment, hearing disability, or cognition issues. In the US, the percentage is about a quarter of Americans with disabilities (26%) have high-speed Internet at home, a smartphone, a laptop, and a desktop computer.
In a study of over 1 million website homepages, there are fewer errors relating to accessibility - a 15.6% decrease from February 2020 to February 2021. Many countries require web accessibility laws. In the US, the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) standardizes web accessibility compliance to provide guidelines on how businesses can remediate their online sites. Practicing online accessibility enables online users to participate and enjoy the benefits of the Internet.
Web Accessibility for Business
Web accessibility is a gradual, intentional process. Some accessibility features are simple to implement (e.g., font sizing and line spacing or alternative text for images), but some require more comprehensive programming and design techniques (e.g., voice command feature).
If you are now navigating how to implement web accessibility that applies to business sites, you can get the most timely and relevant information from ADA Web Accessibility. We facilitate your compliance by incorporating Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) standards in website design and remediation.
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