Making the commitment to provide an accessible experience for your website visitors is significant. Your website should be accessible from the web design to the navigation and presentation of content and functionality so that it is available to all users. This means that you are purposefully committing to being inclusive and allowing access to all populations.
Depending on the size of your organization and your website, this can have quite an impact on your teams.
The good news is that web design accessibility is achievable.
The AKEA Web Solutions team is here to work with you through the process of planning, designing, developing and launching your accessible website. Call us at (517) 940-4615 or email us firstname.lastname@example.org get started!
Drawing the Plans
There are key elements to consider when constructing anything, whether it’s a building, a car, a recipe, or, as in our case, a website. It’s important to consider who is going to use it, how it’s going to be used and what the ultimate goal is upon completion.
With a business website, an owner’s goal is to get their company information into the world in an easy-to-understand, visually desirable way, to as many potential consumers as possible. In the brainstorming stages of accessible web design, the look, tone, navigation and usability all come into play. Equally as important, companies must consider web design accessibility for users of all populations.
Physical Accessibility Parallels Digital Accessibility
When architects design a building, physical accessibility elements including entrance ramps, wide doorways, Braille and bathroom safety railings are early measures factored into the planning phase. Accessibility for digital environments such a website is much the same. While websites can be made accessible retroactively, mapping out accessibility features in advance of launching a new site will save you significant time and money and help to prevent complications down the road.
The Rationale for Web Design Accessibility
Think about all the ways you currently use the Internet. It’s likely your number one source of information for news, sports, community information, research and social interaction. That’s why it is so important that the Internet is accessible to everyone. Everyone deserves the ability to tap into the web.
While the majority of websites currently do not meet acceptable web accessibility standards, some major sites have made it a priority. Google and Facebook both took the lead. Google’s developer tools inspect accessibility for web pages and Facebook encourages the use of closed captioning.
Consider Your User Populations
So why should we be concerned about web design accessibility? You may be saying to yourself, my organization is not tech savvy like Google or Facebook and my audience is much smaller. Maybe it’s true that your organization is not as tech-focused as Google or Facebook, or your audience is significantly smaller. Perhaps you don’t think your current/potential consumers are living with disabilities. Regardless, companies can be sued for discrimination if their sites are not easily accessible. And, beyond the concern of a potential lawsuit, ensuring accessibility is simply the right thing to do.
Consider the Data on Disabled Individuals
The United Nations reports there are approximately 1 billion people living with disabilities in the world today (56.7 million in the United States alone). That is a significant part of the global and national population, who cannot and should not be ignored. That is also a high number of potential customers that you could be missing out on with an inaccessible website.
Another demographic that will continue to need accessibility support is the aging population. The UN reports there are about 962 million people aged 60 or over, which equates to about 13 percent of the world. This group expected to grow by 3 percent each year and by 2050 is projected to reach 2.1 billion people. As this population ages, they too will need additional accommodations in order to use the Internet.
Create a Better Internet for All People
Beyond the fact that any web design accessibility standards you add to your website will improve your Search Engine Optimization, making you more visible to all users, providing an accessible website is the best way to do business with people with disabilities. When done right, accessible websites are preferred for people who cannot read printed material, who cannot physically visit a store and people who may have difficulty hearing.
When you look at the number of people who need – or will soon need – better accessibility on the Internet, it becomes clear that designing your website to be accessible is a priority. The sooner you start improving your existing website or developing a website that is usable for all, the better.
What Can Be Done to Improve Web Design Accessibility
Luckily, there are already extensive best practices developed to create a more inclusive online society. This includes, but is not limited to:
Using tags in content
Including closed captioning
Factoring in color contrast
Making navigation intuitive
Using keyboard shortcuts
Using logical headers
Using adaptable code
Writing descriptive captions (alt-text) for pictures
Using the proper markup for tables on web pages
Considering responsive and mobile web design
The list is significant, but if you plan for web design accessibility from the beginning, you eliminate the risk of having to discard your website and start from scratch. If these steps are taken during the build, it is much easier to maintain, update and tweak as needed as well as track their usability for consumers. Talk to our accessible web designers to explore the various options available to develop an accessible web design for your business.
We need to make every single thing accessible to every single person with a disability.
Ensuring your website is accessible can seem cumbersome and overwhelming for a business owner. You may be inclined to skip these important steps to save time, but we urge you to ignore that impulse. Skipping steps now will only lead to more headaches later on. Not only will you miss out on growing your brand, you may also be in violation of discrimination laws which will require you to go back and make those same updates to your site anyway – costing more time and money than it would have originally.
AKEA Web Solutions specializes in assisting companies, organizations and universities in building websites that do not discriminate, allowing for information to be clearly disseminated. Our team has made accessible web design their top priority. We use our team’s expertise to support businesses and clients.
AKEA ensures web design accessibility is done right the first time and can teach you and your team about the proper considerations to keep you up-to-date with the latest accessibility trends and to ensure you are following all laws. By working with AKEA, you create a positive, interactive experience for everyone, while also building your company’s commitment to inclusivity.
Contact AKEA Web Solutions today to learn more about how we can assist you in building a site that positions your organization or business to be accessible to all online users. Let our experienced team help you build your brand and reach your entire consumer base.
Contact AKEA for a Free Consultation
on your web design and accessibility initiative!