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Accessibility Tip: Why accessibility is important
Web accessibility is very important - but often overlooked. Now we have had the internet for several decades we know very well how to make websites accessible, however it is a shame that many websites are not as accessible as they could be.
Making a site accessible has clear business benefits - you can reach more customers, they can interact with your services easier and it generally makes your site/app easier to use even for those not affected by disabilities.
One of the main reasons companies focus on web accessibility is due to the fear of legal consequences. Almost all countries have legal requirements to have accessible websites.
USA have their Section 508 and The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) law. UK have their equivalent https://www.gov.uk/guidance/accessibility-requirements-for-public-sector-websites-and-apps
If you run a website or app which has real users, then you should feel a moral obligation to make your website accessible.
1 in 5 users have some form of a disability. That is a huge chunk of your customers that you should think about when designing new applications or websites.
If your website is not accessible then your (potential) customers may not be able to use your site, and you will be missing out on their custom.
People with the following issues may be affected by accessibility on your site:
- Blindness or low vision
- Colour blindness
- Learning/congnitive disabilities
- Motor issues (e.g. unable to easily use a mouse)
I cover all of these points elsewhere on this site but a quick run down of what you should be doing at a mimimum to ensure that your website or application is accessible:
- Ensure that users can use your site with just a keyboard (no mouse, no touchpad)
- Ensure that any images that are needed to understand the content (not decorative images) have valid and useful alt tags. Any decorative images should have an empty alt tag
- Ensure that any audio content has transcripts
- Ensure that valid HTML is used correctly
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