A Zippia report reveals that currently, there are almost five million people in the world who actively use the internet. This makes up around 62 percent of the global population. As for America, 93 percent of its population uses the internet.
The growing use of the internet is no doubt a positive sign. However, it also raises an important question – do all people, irrespective of their physical capabilities, have equal accessibility to the internet?
With the rapid growth of technology, it has become even more critical to ensure that the internet and websites are accessible to everyone, including people with disabilities.
The CDC claims that at least one out of four Americans have some type of disability. When you take the rest of the world into account, this statistic will grow significantly. That means there are millions of people out there who currently have some sort of disability.
The digital landscape has significantly evolved over the past few years and has become an integral part of people’s lives. The internet provides a level playing field to people with disabilities by enabling them to access information and interact with the world, just like anyone else.
In this article, we will discuss how brands can ensure web accessibility in 2023.
Understanding the Importance of Web Accessibility
Brands must understand the importance of web accessibility and why it matters. People with disabilities face many challenges when navigating the web, and an accessible website can help overcome these challenges.
Web accessibility helps to break down barriers and ensures that people with disabilities have equal access to information and services. Brands that prioritize accessibility are more likely to attract a larger and more diverse customer base and meet the needs of all users, including those with disabilities.
Adhering to Web Accessibility Standards
Web accessibility standards, such as the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG), provide a framework for creating accessible websites. Brands can ensure web accessibility by following these guidelines and implementing the recommended accessibility features, such as alt tags for images, headings, and descriptive links.
These standards help to ensure that websites are usable by people with disabilities, including those with visual, auditory, motor, and cognitive disabilities.
Testing and Evaluating Web Accessibility
Brands should regularly test and evaluate their websites for accessibility to identify any areas that need improvement. There are various tools available to help brands with this process, including automated accessibility testing tools and manual testing by individuals with disabilities.
Brands can also seek feedback from users with disabilities to gain a deeper understanding of their needs and to identify any barriers that may need to be addressed.
Check the overlays and accessibility standards of your website by having it tested by the end users. Digital accessibility is something that you can’t ensure without having the actual user base check it out first. They will check things like the accessible overlay tools, screen readers, etc., and help you realize whether or not there are any critical accessibility issues.
Using Overlays With Caution
An overlay could provide a larger text version of the content, making it easier for users with visual impairments to read. Also, it can provide users with alternative controls to navigate a website.
Many web developers consider overlays and accessibility synonymous. However, it’s worth keeping in mind that the quality of overlay solutions varies, depending on the vendor. While some solutions use advanced machine learning algorithms, others don’t meet the standards of human coders.
Before you start using overlays, it’s crucial to develop a firm grasp of web accessibility best practices. It’ll help you decide whether you should use overlays or rebuild your website for accessibility. Also, you’ll be in a better position to find the right overlay solution if you decide to move forward with it.
Providing Accessible Content
Brands must ensure that their content is accessible to all users, including those with disabilities. This means providing clear and concise language, using meaningful headings, and providing alternative text for images.
Businesses should also provide audio descriptions for videos and make sure that their website is compatible with assistive technologies, such as screen readers. With the incorporation of accessible content, brands can ensure that their message is communicated effectively to all users.
You should also know that proper website accessibility can improve your SEO rankings. This was revealed in a study conducted by AccessibilityChecker.org. By researching data from over 800 websites before and after they were made accessibility compliant, the study showed that the organic search traffic generated by these websites tends to grow when they’re following accessibility standards.
Making Accessibility Part of the Company Culture
Finally, brands must make accessibility part of their company culture. This means integrating accessibility into their processes and making it a priority in their decision-making processes. Provide training and resources for your business employees to help them understand the importance of accessibility and how to implement it effectively.
By making accessibility a priority, brands can ensure that they are providing a positive user experience for all users, including those with disabilities.
In conclusion, web accessibility is critical for brands to reach and engage with all users, including those with disabilities. Taking the steps discussed above, you and your brand can create websites that are usable and accessible to all users, helping to break down barriers and provide equal access to information and services.