Accessibility is a cornerstone feature of the internet that levels the playing field for everyone around the globe. When the internet meets this goal, it opens doors to people with a diverse range of sight, hearing, movement, and cognitive abilities. It also provides them with increased opportunities, including education, jobs, and online shopping for goods.
However, when poorly designed websites, applications, technologies, or tools are created, enormous barriers that prevent people from accessing the internet can be present. For instance, people living with physical challenges, like blindness or hearing loss, may have issues interacting with a site if it doesn’t include the right accessibility enhancements.
You may be surprised to know that accessibility can also help those without disabilities. For instance, older people may have difficulty reading smaller fonts with different colors. Other individuals may have issues with slow connections, bad screens, and ‘temporary’ disabilities, such as an inability to read due to blurry vision caused by migraine headaches.
And, what’s good for the client is good for the business. Websites that incorporate accessibility have been found to have reduced maintenance costs and increased audience reach.
Four Reasons Your Business Should Have Accessible Websites
Are you still undecided about how ADA website compliance can benefit your business? Here are four reasons why your company should make your website accessible for everyone.
1. Reduced Litigation Risks
Businesses must ensure their sites comply with Titles II and III of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Under the ADA’s State and Local Governments statute (Title II), these entities must protect qualified individuals with disabilities from discrimination based on disability in services, programs, and activities provided by governmental agencies.
Some legal eagles have interpreted Title III of the ADA to define websites as “places of public accommodation.” This interpretation has placed website owners at increased risk for legal action if their websites are inaccessible to people with disabilities. Lawsuits related to web accessibility are currently on the rise in the United States. And due to the COVID-19 pandemic, experts expect litigation to skyrocket in 2020 as businesses race to build new technology to handle a glut of online ordering, communication, and additional digital services.
Several major companies have already faced litigation because their sites don’t comply with ADA standards, including Dominos, Burger King, Red Lobster, T.G.I. Friday’s, Safeway, Winn-Dixie, Amazon and Blue Apron.
2. Improved Search Engine Rankings
A second reason companies should build accessible sites is to improve their search engine rankings online. When sites follow the best standards and practices of search engine optimization, they are optimizing your site and mobile apps for accessibility.
Check out these SEO tactics that support ADA website compliance.
Image Alt-Tags and Captions: These should have clear descriptions of content about images that allow screen readers to identify and read images properly. It also gives search engine bots indications of what an image is about and if it has a URL attached.
Video Transcription and Tags: Do you have multimedia on your website? To meet ADA website compliance, you must have a readable transcript for audio-only and video-only media. Spend a few minutes to make sure your text is accurate. You should also add video titles, keywords, and descriptive text that help search engines and users find your content more easily.
PDF: Small businesses should ensure that all PDF content is accessible by following Adobe Acrobat’s guide.
RELATED: 5 reasons to invest in SEO for your business.
Title-tags: These allow users to identify whether the information on your webpage is relevant to their needs. It also allows Google to crawl it quickly and determine how the page should appear in its search results.
Link-anchor-text: These should be descriptive. Text or buttons that only say “Click Here” are not ideal since they don’t communicate what the result would be. It’s recommended that you use a copy of the link to tell users and search engines what your site links to.
On-site sitemaps, table of contents, and breadcrumbs: These simple sitemaps contain links to all major sections and pages of your website. They can allow your visitors to understand the contents of your website.
3. Increased Sales and Conversions
Another benefit that accessible websites provide to businesses is increasing their website sales and conversions. When you design your website for ADA website compliance, you’ll attract a large segment of buyers that can significantly increase your website traffic. In 2019, disabled Americans spent more than $200 billion online in discretionary spending. With COVID-19, online sales and orders have exploded.
Accessible websites also improve the overall user experience (UX) for all of your users, not just people with disabilities. For instance, adding accessibility features such as keyboard-based navigation, search by voice, increased content readability improves your site’s flow. Adding accessible elements also allows search engines to discover your website more easily since you can add semantics, micro data, and ARIA tags to communicate the structure and purpose of your site.
4. Improved Corporate Responsibility
Creating ADA-compliant websites also improves your corporate social responsibility. According to the Nielsen Norman Group, which conducts research-based user experience, consumers expect companies to be clear, authentic, and transparent. They compare corporate content with third-party reviews to develop their opinions about companies before they do business with them.
The Nielsen Norman Group also found that companies that donate back to their communities are also seen as more benevolent and responsible than businesses that don’t make the same efforts. They love companies that care about people and the environment.
RELATED: Read more by Nachum Langsner.
ADA Website Compliance is Achievable
Does your business need an accessible website that helps others within your community and improves your market reach? LocalBizGuru has professionals that can build a beautiful, ADA-compliant website design that reaches all of your customers, or audit and repair your current website to achieve ADA website compliance. In fact, full ADA and WCAG compliance and certification can be achieved in 48 hours and monitored 24/7, and maintained thereafter!
Learn more about our web accessibility solution—or to schedule an appointment, contact us today. Mention 'COSE' for an exclusive discount to wave the first year's $250 set up fee.
And, to read more, check out a more extensive LocalBizGuru blog post on this topic.
Nachum Langsner is the Co-Founder & CMO of LocalBizGuru, a full-service digital marketing agency based in Cleveland, OH. He has over 10+ years of experience in the SEO industry and is a frequent presenter and instructor of digital marketing and SEO seminars for entrepreneurs and small business owners in the Greater Cleveland area for organizations such as COSE, Jumpstart, the Better Business Bureau, Score and the Ohio SBDC at CSU.