The World Wide Web has become an essential resource for accessing and sharing information, and interacting with other people on a variety of different levels. But for people with disabilities, as well as aging populations, visually impared people, people situated in remote areas and people with temporary injuries, it can be challenging to use the Web.
The United Nations’ Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities states that equal access to information and communication technologies is a basic human right. Whilst there are a variety of different methods and technologies available to assist people in accessing the Web, it is ultimately the responsibility of web content authors and web developers to ensure that information published on the Web is presented in an accessible way.
Empowering People with Disabilities
Web accessibility supports social inclusion for people with diverse abilities. The CEO of Microsoft, Bill Gates, has stressed the role of accessible technology in empowering people with diverse abilities, saying it “eliminates barriers for people with disabilities and it enables individuals to take full advantage of their capabilities”. Accessibility guidelines also go along with other best practices of the information technology industry, such as device independence, usability, design for older users, and search engine optimisation (SEO).
Increased Performance and Traffic
But the benefits of making your website accessible actually far outreach that of social inclusion and equal opportunity for people of diverse abilities. From a business perspective, the World Wide Web Consortium (W3) has reported that accessible websites are generally higher quality, thereby reducing development and maintenance time, whilst also reporting increased web traffic – so larger audiences, resulting in higher potential market share.
And don’t forget – your website is not just accessible via a computer. With smartphone ownership in Australia currently estimated at 52% of the population, having an accessible website can mean that it is also easily viewable on a mobile device like a smartphone or tablet, increasing usability.
Having an accessible website is also an aspect of corporate social responsibility (CSR), which can enhance brand image and reputation, as well as increase sales and customer loyalty.
Need Help Applying Accessibility Principles?
Here at 4mation Technologies we pride ourselves on delivering the highest possible quality of website design and development. Our passion for following industry standards and promoting best practices, and our many years of experience mean that we are uniquely situated to assist you in optimising your website for accessibility. Contact us to discuss how we can make your website more accessible for your customers.