Itâ€™s time we started talking about Web accessibility and the benefits it can bring to you and your business. It is after all, a specialist subject for us. We are in the process of documenting the benefits specifically for blogs, but the contents of this post are contextual enough for normal Web sites and blogs.
So, Iâ€™ll start off with some basics to get things started. Sorcha will probably take over the conversation with ongoing tips and updates about the W3C Web Accessibility Initiative. Sorcha is Segalaâ€™s WCAG representative and spends around 6 hours of her time each week helping to create WCAG 2.0. Adrian and David are both well versed in this space also, so feel free to ask for advice any time.
What is Web Accessibility?
Web accessibility addresses the issues that face people with any form of disability who wish to use the Web. Specifically, Web accessibility means that people with a disability can use, understand, navigate, communicate with, interact with and contribute to the Web.
Web accessibility is not only a corporate and social responsibility but it is now also a legal requirement in many countries such as the USA with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), Section 508 and the UK, under the 1995 Disabilities Discrimination Act (DDA) Part 3.
How is Web Accessibility Measured?
Some disability agencies and government departments have developed their own guidelines but these too are based on the Web Accessibility Initiative (WAI) Guidelines.
Why is Web Accessibility Important?
As the Web becomes increasingly important in our every day lives, accessible Web sites can help people with disabilities participate and contribute more actively in society, both online and offline. It is essential that Web sites are accessible in order to provide equal access and opportunities to people with disabilities.
Accessibility is also important to ensure search engines are able to rank and index your Web site properly. This is known as organic Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) and accessibility plays an important role to ensure that you can maximise your ranking potential in a search engine.
There are a number significant benefits that have a direct commercial impact, either by enabling a potential increase in business, or by cutting costs for your business.
- Broaden the reach of audience that can use the site
- Increase traffic to the Web site
- Expand potential market share
- Increase search ranking potential
- Improve the site and increase usability for all visitors
- Generate positive PR and brand awareness
- Demonstrate a commitment and care for people with disabilities
- Comply with legislation to reduce legal liabilities
- Protect the brand
- Standardise Web design, build and maintenance
- Cut overall production costs