Digital accessibility solutions are more essential and important now than ever before. Our daily lives are becoming increasingly digital, with the majority of people using electronic tools for work, shopping, banking, entertainment, healthcare, and other purposes. More people are now relying on digital methods for essential everyday activities, thanks to social distance rules imposed by the COVID-19 pandemic. Students can now use online learning for education, and employees use a range of technology to work from home.
As a result, digital products and services such as video/audio conferencing, websites, and mobile apps are increasingly equally reliant on persons with impairments. That is why these service providers must prioritise digital accessibility. Information and communication technology must be accessible to all users, whether or not they have a disability. Due to their poor design, not everyone can use those services. That is why, for any firm that delivers digital products and services, digital accessibility is more vital than ever.
In this blog, you’ll learn:
- What digital accessibility is?
- Basic principles and features of digital accessibility.
- Steps to enhance digital accessibility of your business.
- How does digital accessibility affect your business?
What is Digital Accessibility?
Digital accessibility is the ability for a website, mobile app or software to be used by somebody who may have a disability that affects their hearing, vision, motor functions, or cognition. People with linguistic problems can also benefit from digitally accessible design.
Screen readers, magnifiers, captioning, transcription, subtitles, wearable devices, and other assistive technology can all aid to enable equal access to digital material. These steps promote an inclusive user experience and can help you reach a wider audience with your content.
Here are some of the advantages that businesses can gain from investing in digital accessibility:
- Enhancement of brand and corporate value
A company’s website or online product is by far one of its most valuable online assets. This is the spot to highlight your values, which should include accessibility. A web-accessible web application (including websites and portals) will have an impact well beyond those who rely on it, giving everyone who interacts with it.
- Cost benefit
Web applications (including websites and portals) that are digitally accessible are simple to use and have increased traffic. E-commerce and consumer products industries may see a significant increase in sales. Additionally, accessibility can save direct expenses by lowering site maintenance, which lowers site maintenance costs, as well as reducing server traffic, which lowers server capacity and costs.
- Maintaining effectiveness and relevance
All of your sophisticated design effort will be for waste if the method you deliver your content cannot adjust. Many individuals prefer to use accessibility features since they are simple to use and comprehend. Accessibility guarantees that a wide range of individuals can use websites and applications efficiently, increasing the reach and relevance of companies.
- Enhance organic search results
Search engines use search engine spiders, which are automated technologies that crawl, index, and rank pages on websites. Improved digital accessibility makes webpages more compatible with search engine crawlers, resulting in higher organic search rankings. Sites, pages, and codes with improved structure and text-based information for potential indexing by search engines are produced by digital accessibility best practises.
- New target market and audience
According to a WHO (World Health Organization) report, about 15% of the world’s population has a disability of some type, with 31% of those recognising the importance of digital accessibility. There are untapped audiences waiting for firms who are prepared to serve all of their consumers, regardless of disabilities.
- Competitive advantage
Digital accessibility lowers risk because web-accessible websites are more SEO friendly, it decreases time to market, offering your business an advantage over the competition. According to a recent survey, having a web presence can increase your TAM (Total Available Market) by 15% to 46%.
Being web-accessible is critical for today’s businesses and their customers. Accessibility is a critical component of the digital world because it allows persons with disabilities to participate equally.
Basic Principles of Digital Accessibility (POUR)
There are four online accessibility principles known as POUR, which are the foundations of web content and everyone who want to utilise the web:
Information and user interface elements must be displayed in a way that can be perceived by the senses, with nothing undetectable or invisible. The majority of web usability is centred on images, however for people who are unable to grasp visual signals, sound and touch are used instead.
Clicking, tapping, swiping, and rolling should be used to operate the interactive parts of an interface, such as controls, buttons, and navigation. Voice commands or other assistance technologies such as head wands and eye trackers should be available instead.
Technology should be presented and used in a clear and consistent manner, with predictable usage and design principles. While understanding the user flow and interaction of the interface, the end-user should comprehend the meaning and purpose of the information offered in the content.
To work reliably with a wide range of technology, including assistive devices, content must be resilient. The web will be unavailable to disabled users if any of these four criteria are not followed.
Common Features of Digital Accessibility
Based on the business and customer it serves, a digitally accessible website or app must have the following minimum features:
- Provides non-text material with text and/or audio alternatives.
- Contains information, context, and structure that may be presented in a variety of ways without losing information, context, or structure.
- Allows you to use a keyboard instead of a cursor to do all functions.
- Isn’t made in a way that’s known to trigger seizures.
- Provides options for users to browse, find content, and establish their location.
- Enables screen readers to analyse a website for visually impaired users.
- Videos with closed captioning are available for those with hearing issues.
- For people with vision impairments, include “alt text” on photos.
- Allows users who are unable to use a mouse to navigate using the keyboard (by pressing the Tab key).
Steps to Enhance Your Business’s Digital Accessibility
It takes time to improve your company’s digital accessibility, but getting started doesn’t have to be difficult.
- Do your homework first. Recognize the issue. Put yourself in your customers’ shoes. It is critical to acknowledge exclusion and its consequences. Become familiar with users who may have difficulties and the problems they encounter online as a result. If feasible speak with these users, inquire about your website’s hurdles and how easy it is for them to consume your content. Various technologies can assist in automating this process and identifying many of the difficulties.
- Second, ensure that you have adequate internal support. Fixing a few problems on your website isn’t enough to improve digital accessibility. Changes must be made throughout the organisation. To guarantee that accessibility is always a priority, consider forming a cross-departmental team. People from content, design, sales, and development could be on the team.
A cross-functional team will be able to build processes where:
- Monitoring for accessibility is carried out on a regular basis and any issues are quickly resolved
- Content is readable and accessible, without jargon where possible
- Everything is truly user-led with decision-making and design
- Accessibility becomes a priority as new initiatives are planned
3: Third, remember that this is a marathon, not a sprint. Determine your most pressing concerns and handle them first. Make a strategy for achieving your goals. Above all, understand that accessibility is not a one-time fix. It’s a continuous process that should be ingrained in the minds of your marketing, sales team and should be embraced at all levels.
How Does Digital Accessibility Affect Your Business?
The goal of digital accessibility is to provide a welcoming environment for all users. Companies may expand their reach and safeguard their brand reputation by boosting digital inclusiveness. Prioritizing internet accessibility is both socially and economically beneficial. In the United States, around 61 million adults have a disability, such as visual loss, hearing loss, or learning difficulties.
Furthermore, more than 15% of the world’s population suffers from dyslexia symptoms. Reading difficulties, bad spelling and writing, and mixing together related words are all examples. This implies that many websites, campaigns, and social media messages are difficult for many individuals to access or comprehend. Accessibility is also required by law. The number of web accessibility lawsuits has risen dramatically in recent years. Each year, thousands in the United States alone. In fact, the Americans with Impairments Act (ADA) mandates that all businesses provide and maintain websites that are accessible to individuals with disabilities.
It’s also crucial to understand how prioritising accessibility might affect brand reputation. Few things are more crucial to marketing and sales professionals than building and safeguarding brand reputation. Companies that show a strong commitment to accessibility gain the benefits.
By now, you should have a better understanding of why digital accessibility solutions is so important for any organization. If you’re looking for more help to improve the digital accessibility, user experience, increase your sales revenue, remain compliant, and avoid costly maintenance, then check out Acadecraft services. It is one of the best digital accessibility service providers and companies seeking digital accessibility solutions can turn to them for assistance.
About the Author
Hope James is a senior writer of Acadecraft. She has been with the company for five years and has produced some excellent written work samples. She is enthusiastic about latest technology and implementing a content centric strategy to achieve successful business outcomes. In addition to writing, her hobbies include sketching and gardening.