Web accessibility means that your site is able to fundamentally function for all different kinds of online audiences; no matter the circumstances. No one deserves to be inadvertently discriminated against.
For a web page to be deemed accessible, there is an abundance of boxes that need to be checked in order to be compliant with the ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) and WCAG (Web Content Accessibility Guidelines).
Another governing principle for web accessibility is Section 508 of the U.S. government code, which mandates that all government information be web-accessible, meaning accounting for all potential disabilities that could impede a user’s internet experience:
The kind of challenges users experience with web accessibility can often be unintentional, but it’s important that these considerations remain at the forefront of every business owner’s mind.
Visual struggles are apparent when a website design has placed too much emphasis on the aesthetics and overcomplicate it, rather than making it widely compatible and easily understood. It’s best to keep web pages succinct and simple to understand but that doesn’t mean your site has to be boring or plain.
Accessibility ‘overlays’ are often thought of as a quick-fix to making a website accessible, but the reality is, there are no shortcuts. Overlay companies and accessibility themes often cause more issues with usability and accessibility than they solve. Often automated accessibility checkers give false positives telling you to fix something that doesn’t need to be fixed.
Manually checking a web page for a wide variety of accessibility issues is crucial.
For a web page to be accessible, and usable for all different kinds of Web users, particularly those experiencing disabilities, it must consider all kinds of factors that can alter a user’s experience. Web pages need to be manually checked and tested to see where they’re deficient.
Some of the most common accessibility issues is text that’s too light or too small. Missing alt text on images, too many navigation links in the primary navigation, empty form labels, and ambiguous link text.
97% of the top 1 million websites in the world fail basic web accessibility tests, leaving them susceptible to legal trouble. There were 8x as many web accessibility lawsuits filed between 2016 and 2019 than ever before. The internet permeates practically every aspect of our lives, making it vital that businesses consider every base going forward.
No one deserves to be discriminated against, and especially so when they don’t have a choice about whether or not they’re disabled. Web and technological accessibility breed more inclusivity by working against discrimination. By making your website usable to all different kinds of users, you’re inviting potential business opportunities and gives your business more credibility.
Aiming for a web-accessible site speaks to having a moral compass. In ignoring it, you’re passing up a chance to promote universal human good and allow all users to access the content.