What Is Website Accessibility?
Website accessibility is the practice of making website content accessible to people with disabilities as well as to everyone else. Accessibility is not only a moral and legal obligation but also a good business strategy. It improves user experience, SEO and increases ROI.
On this page, we will explain why website accessibility matters and how to improve it.
Table of Contents
Why Website Accessibility Matters
Website accessibility is something that is overlooked by many publishers and online marketplaces. If you want to make the most out of your website, you should make it easy to use for everybody.
When a website is designed with accessibility in mind, the content is more user-friendly and creates a more positive user experience. Web accessibility enhances clarity, readability and functionality making it easier for everyone to interact with it.
Accessibility also benefits people without disabilities who may face situational or temporary limitations. They include only having access to a mobile device, slow internet speed or accessing the web in a less than favourable environment including areas with poor lighting and noise.
Usability and User Satisfaction
In addition to obtaining authorisation from patients, HIPAA compliance requires healthcare marketers to implement appropriate safeguards to protect PHI from unauthorised access and use.
Safeguards can include administrative, and physical measures. The most common ones are encryption, passwords, firewalls, training, policies and policies.
HIPAA compliance also requires that healthcare marketers enter into business associate agreements with any third-party vendors or partners.
A business associate agreement is a contract that defines the roles and responsibilities of both parties regarding PHI and ensures that they comply with HIPAA rules. Examples of business associates include marketing agencies, software developers, digital marketing, web hosts and email services.
Does Website Accessibility Improve SEO and Performance?
The answer to that question is yes. When done correctly website accessibility should improve both SEO and performance.
As a matter of fact, website accessibility share many of the same goals and practices. Website accessibility is becoming increasingly important. In years to come, it is likely websites will have to comply with more legal requirements and guidelines when it comes to accessibility.
Europe and the United States already have legal requirements in place when it comes to accessing and using public information websites. Australia also has legal guidelines that should be followed. It is called the WCAG standard.
By following web accessibility guidelines, websites improve in visibility, ranking and traffic increases. Web accessibility also improves performance by reducing the size and complexity of web pages. This makes them faster and more efficient.
How to Improve Website Accessibility
Improving website accessibility is not something that happens overnight. As a matter of fact, it is a task that requires constant monitoring and updating. When it comes to accessibility, there is always room for improvement.
It is important to constantly monitor activity on your site and interact with comments from users. There are tools out there you can use, but if you want a truly accessibility website, it is best to use a professional service.
Let’s take a look at the main issues that should be on top of the agenda when creating an accessible website.
Identify Problems, Fix Them and Implement Better Practices
The most common and critical problems should be fixed first. A good example is alternative text for images. The text should be easy to read and understand even for someone who experiences dyslexia.
When it comes to dyslexia, colour contrast is important. This also plays a role when someone with poor or deteriorating eyesight uses your site.
Good captions play a role. Ideally, you would like visitors to instantly understand the message your site is delivering.
If visitors find it hard to interact with video and sound, it is a good idea to have transcripts of the text in place.
Overall page organisation is of vital importance. Make sure all of the headings are clear and easy to understand. Ensure that links are clearly indicated and easy to find.
Forms are very popular on websites and we use an increasing number of them. At all times, forms should be clearly labeled and easy to complete. Once the form has been completed, the user should find it easy to take the next action. Can the form be completed in simple steps and is it easy to send?
Testing Your Website
If you are passionate about creating a truly accessible website, you should test it all of the time. It is easy to overlook accessibility issues. If at all possible, you should ask as many different users as possible to test your website.
Assistive technologies play an increasing role for many online users. What are they? Assistive technologies are anything from large text to screen readers and voice input. If you can include them right from the start, you are on to a winner.
Maintaining Your Website
When it comes to technology, we know that everything moves on very quickly. To many, new technologies seem to be implemented overnight.
Although it may appear that way, it is not true. The most successful website owners constantly maintain and update their websites. This is what you should be focusing on as well.
If you are busy running a company or fully-booked practice, constantly maintaining a website and keeping up to date is more or less impossible. The smart money is on letting a professional service take care of your website maintenance for you.
Accessibility is all about creating a user-friendly website that everyone can interact with, regardless of any challenges they might face. While this often brings to mind people with disabilities, it's also vital for other audiences. This includes individuals browsing on mobile devices or those dealing with slower internet speeds, ensuring they can seamlessly navigate and enjoy your website.
The Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) stand on four foundational pillars: Perceivability, Operability, Understandability, and Robustness, often abbreviated to POUR. These guidelines are frequently invoked in website accessibility legal disputes, and are widely acknowledged as the gold standard for making your site accessible to all users.
Accessible websites offer a multisensory experience, engaging users through both auditory and visual elements. Moreover, they extend beyond the conventional click interface by offering additional interaction pathways, like keyboard-driven commands and voice-guided navigation, making the site user-friendly for everyone.
Content optimized for accessibility tends to enhance the user experience for all. Even those without disabilities find value in accessible design, particularly in restrictive scenarios. For instance, video captions are beneficial in environments where noise is too high for audio clarity or when silence is necessary.
Final Thoughts On Website Accessibility
By making your website truly inclusive, you do not only fulfill legal requirements. You also meet your moral obligations.
Many website users have a disability of some kind. For them, using online services and buying goods online is often easier than interacting with real-life situations.
If you can make your website accessible and user-friendly for all, not only will get a better return on investment. It will also reflect on your business and tell a user that you have a truly inclusive organisation.