Chief technology officer at accessiBe, a market leader in web accessibility.
Website experts, such as web developers and agencies that oversee their clients’ websites, are gatekeepers to the world’s most valuable resource: the internet. They have an opportunity to make sure that the internet—and everything it has to offer—is available to everyone. More importantly, their influence can encourage website accessibility for the 26% of the U.S. population who live with a disability. As key players in these inclusion efforts, website experts have the ability to secure a fair and equitable digital landscape for everyone, exercising their power by building accessible websites.
What is web accessibility, though? It’s the inclusive practice of breaking down barriers that make it difficult for people with disabilities to interact with websites, and it involves the adjustment and optimization of user experiences tailored to the specific needs of certain disabilities.
There are modern companies that bring web accessibility and the importance of inclusion to the forefront of internet use and management. And through the implementation of accessibility technology, website experts have the chance to raise awareness around inclusion efforts and can impact the online world through certain consciousness actions.
Enhance User Experiences For All
Website experts hold the key to breaking down internet barriers by addressing the market needs and behaviors correlated with web accessibility. It’s an opportunity to appeal to 69% of users who currently click away from websites that are difficult to navigate by optimizing the user experience so they spend more time online.
By adopting a robust web accessibility solution that levels up user experiences, website experts and agencies alike can improve usability, navigation and comprehension for everyone on their websites. People with disabilities, specifically, can absorb digital assets that are clarified and magnified through on-screen adjustments or are compatible with assistive technologies. For website experts and marketing agencies, in particular, enhanced user experiences can generate lifts in site traffic, SEO ranking, session or dwell time and conversation rates while proactively promoting awareness around market inclusion.
Bring A New Consumer Market Into The Digital Ecosystem
The 26% of the U.S. population living with disabilities has a spending power of over $1.2 trillion. Many can’t exercise this spending power because of the internet’s lack of inclusion, which can result in significant missed revenue. This large percentage of the population wants to immerse themselves in the internet experience. It’s imperative that website experts bring this untapped market to the forefront of the online ecosystem through web accessibility technologies that make it possible for them to perform transactions without encountering disruptive barriers and interact with businesses on the web with ease in a streamlined fashion.
By doing so, businesses and agencies will likely experience growth stemming from accessible websites that motivate and enable these transactional processes and buying opportunities. Extending reach to this portion of the market means thriving monetarily and hitting financial targets consistently.
Build Trust Between Consumers And Brands
Representation and inclusion are growing demands from modern consumers who choose to give their business to those that align with their values. With 57% of consumers remaining more loyal to brands that prioritize inclusivity and social inequities, it’s more important than ever for websites to be accessible. Website experts and agencies that proactively provide, promote and maintain accessible websites end up building an online presence and reputation that can be trusted by those living with a disability. This sense of trust assures them that they can access and interact with sites without difficulty and independently, involving them in digital activities effectively.
Building a positive online reputation based on trust that also resonates with the values of users and includes people with disabilities often leads to a lift in customer retention and loyalty. Customer satisfaction will also prevail, as will the positive word of mouth and referrals that friends and family of those with disabilities will hear.
Support An Important Civil Rights Issue
The moral responsibility that is web accessibility is crystal clear, especially regarding diversity, equity and inclusion. However, as a website expert, it’s also necessary to comply with the legal requirements that protect the civil rights of people with disabilities and, by doing so, join a worthy cause.
Reaching WCAG 2.1 AA-level requirements—and ADA compliance for those operating within the U.S.—is mandated by law. Therefore, for website experts—including agencies and their clients—making your websites accessible also means mitigating legal risks and costly lawsuits.
It’s always best to design websites with accessibility in mind from the get-go and not as an afterthought. That said, if you already have an existing website and are unsure of how compliant it is, you can check it in a matter of seconds with free web accessibility auditing tools, such as the ones found on the W3C Web Accessibility Evaluation Tools List.
Move Forward As A Key Player In Inclusion
By now, we’ve come to understand the profound effect that website experts and agencies have on inclusion as it pertains to web accessibility and including everyone on the internet. By employing web accessibility solutions, services and technologies, website experts of all types are working to create an inclusive and equitable space that ensures everyone can participate in the purchase of goods and services, receive access to vast amounts of information and connect with others through digital channels. It’s an initiative that changes the game for website experts, business owners, agencies and the significant part of the population that deserves access to every corner of the web.