Never forget about accessibility when you are developing digital products. I hope this article will reaffirm some of the things I often have to say about the importance of accessibility!
Going on and on about accessibility is my thing, I know that, but there are reasons you should listen to what I have to say as they will benefit you!
To illustrate this point, in this article I will talk about SEO, conversion rate optimisation and UX and how it ties in with accessibility! Let's begin!
You want as many people as possible to hear your message right?
Up to 20% (we don't have an exact figure but it is somewhere between 15% and 20%) of the world's population has some form of disability! People with disabilities visit your site every day, you just don't realise it!
Never has it been more critical than today to make sure that you capitalise on every visitor to your site and do your best to turn them into a customer. If you are ignoring the needs of 1 in 6 people then you are not setting yourself up for success!
Going through the motions on accessibility, rather than embracing the benefits it brings is only hurting you, your clients and your business.
To make it clear how easy it is to stand out in a particular industry you need to know that 97.4% of websites have accessibility errors.
Let that sink in for a moment. Only 1 in 50 websites are free from detectable errors. Errors that mean that disabled visitors will be frustrated and ultimately possibly leave in search of a slightly more accessible site.
You could be the one company in an industry that put the extra time and effort into making your site accessible and really stand out!
Down playing the moral and corporate social responsibility side of things for a second, just imagine how being the only accessible site in an industry could benefit you!
Never ending positive conversations about your company and word of mouth referrals within the disabled community will result in a snowball effect as your site is a pleasure to use and inclusive, rather than impossible to use and exclusionary!
Going a step further, imagine how much publicity you can get your site if it is accessible and inclusive! Publications love to talk about the inaccessibility of the web, but they struggle to find examples of accessible sites to show the difference it makes. You could find yourself referenced in some great blog posts with a little effort!
To me it is worth spending those extra few hours to add WAI-ARIA attributes, use the right HTML elements and check colour contrast in exchange for the huge uplifts your site will see.
Around $1 Trillion dollars of spending is controlled by people with disabilities!
And when you consider their close family are also likely to favour a company that is inclusive you can soon see why the numbers start to stack up in your favour if you focus on accessibility!
Desert your old ways of thinking that accessibility is expensive, not thinking about accessibility is expensive!
You can think of it like this, for every visitor to your site you are currently losing about 10%-20% of your potential customers to poor design.
Never in the history of capitalism has it been more important to look after every single visitor as gaining visitors is more time consuming and costly than it has ever been.
Going above and beyond for disabled visitors have an added bonus, it also helps everyone else, as good accessibility often results in good UX.
To illustrate this point let's consider colour contrast.
Make the contrast too low and people who are trying to use your site in bright sunlight on a mobile will struggle to read what you have to say.
You only have to increase the contrast to a decent level (4.5:1) to avoid this problem. I promise you, increasing the contrast will not ruin your design!
Cry every time you see grey text on a grey background and weep when you see orange text on a white background, I know I do!
Going back to HTML basics is something that a lot of developers need to do!
To call yourself a developer and then produce
<div> soup is shocking. We have so many semantically relevant HTML tags that help people use our products and help out site rank on Google, why would you think that
<div> soup is acceptable!
Say you want to create an accordion (for example). Do you use a load of
<details> and make life easy for yourself and your users!
Never reach for a
<div> if there is an HTML element that can do the job! Follow this simple rule and your site will be far more accessible and faster too!
Going through your Markup is also far more pleasurable when you have descriptive HTML tags instead of random class names everywhere. It lets you easily see where
<aside> etc. are!
To make things even better and more consistent you can even target these elements in your CSS, saving you the effort of coming up with class names and making your CSS nice and tidy!
Tell me that you don't like clean HTML and easy to follow CSS classes! OK I know some of you use Tailwind and clean HTML is not possible there, but even then having semantic HTML tags let's you see where you are in the document structure far more easily!
Lie to yourself all you want with the "I will fix that later" rubbish, we all know it never gets fixed as there are always new features to add and bugs to fix. It will take you far less time doing it now that trying to fix accessibility in the future!
Hurt and ignore people with disabilities through your negligence and shoddy code and it will eventually come back to bite you!
You could end up on the wrong end of a lawsuit that costs you and your company thousands! You have been suitably warned!
The best thing you can do now is go back and read the first word of each paragraph and heading! 😉
F**k me, I can't believe I got you, I think I won the internet for today, have a great week! 🤣