What is web accessibility and why is it important?

Have you ever considered how someone who is blind does their shopping online? Or how someone with deafness is able to enjoy their favourite live news updates or videos on Youtube?

Web accessibility makes all of this possible.

Web accessibility is the practice of ensuring digital platforms can be used and accessed by people of all abilities, including those with hearing, visual, physical, and cognitive impairments.

Web Accessibility is measured against the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) which details exactly how we can create an inclusive web for everyone to access.

The WCAG is built and maintained around four key principles – that the web is Perceivable, Operable, Understandable and Robust.

By applying these principles in web application design and development there becomes a greater chance of success for your applications usability and accessibility in the market.

For more information on the current WCAG 2.1 standards, check out this blog.

What is web accessibility and why is it more important than ever?

Every year we rely more and more on technology. More businesses and consumers are online every year and this trend has just been supercharged with the recent global coronavirus pandemic.

The coronavirus pandemic is shifting how businesses and consumers operate and communicate. Businesses are transitioning to the cloud with most staff working from home, while consumers are connecting with brands from the comfort of their home.

Digital accessibility is always important and should be at the forefront of every businesses digital strategy, however in these times of uncertainty it is more important than ever.

Now let’s get into how and why accessibility is so important for your business, customers, and staff.

Accessibility for your customers.

Many businesses in Australia have either closed or pivoted to a digital way of supplying their products and services.

This means that consumers are at home and relying on digital platforms more than ever to access the products and services they want and need.

Accessibility should always be a consideration for businesses because providing a poor user experience can cause users to get disgruntled, creating a negative impact on your brand reputation.

If you’re a business relying on digital to connect with your customers, you should consider the following questions:

  • Can users navigate your website using just a keyboard?
  • Is your website setup so that it works well with screen reading technology?
  • Do all of your images have alt text to provide content descriptions?
  • Do your website colours clash or cause confusion between text, images and backgrounds?
  • Is your platform free from distracting, irrelevant content such as ads?

Accessibility for your staff.

The coronavirus pandemic has forced the majority of the Australian workforce to transition into a working from home environment. Many businesses have made a swift shift to the cloud and to a reliance on video conferencing technology to operate.

Without considering the impact of accessibility in your business collaborations online, some of your staff may be struggling. If you have team members of differing abilities, it is important to consider the following questions:

  • Are closed captions or accurate transcripts of conference calls provided for staff with hearing impairments?
  • Are your online work documents able to be used with a screen reader for visually impaired staff?

Today we’ve provided some high-level examples of what accessibility is and why it is more important than ever.

With more users and teams buying and working online, web accessibility needs to be put at the forefront of every business strategy.

There are many other elements and considerations of web accessibility as detailed in the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.1. To fully understand your level of web accessibility, it is best to engage a web accessibility expert to conduct and audit and provide recommendations on where you can improve.

XPON are web accessibility experts who provide a number of web accessibility services in Australia, so if you are looking for support please get in touch.