Why Your Website Needs to be Accessible to Everyone
An accessible website is designed with technology that makes navigation simpler for those with disabilities. The positive impact it can have on users goes far beyond a few features.
Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.
This article was written by Alex Sixt, an Entrepreneur NEXT powered by Assemble expert. If you are looking to take the NEXT step in your business then we encourage you to check out Entrepreneur NEXT powered by Assemble.
It's 2020, which means it's time to make your website accessible. Web accessibility is one of the most important things you can do for the online community and your customers. An accessible website is designed with technology that makes navigation simpler for those with disabilities. The positive impact it can have on users goes far beyond a few features.
Accessibility is an important step in building a more inclusive website for the digital community and will make your website an experience that everyone can enjoy. However, not all websites are properly equipped to provide an accessible experience for every person who visits their site. Millions of people use the internet every day and many need accessible technology to enable them to use the web as others do.
Enhancing accessibility can seem to be a difficult task, but implementing these tools and resources is well worth the work. Before you begin your venture into building an accessible website, let's discuss why it's vital to your website and how to easily create an inclusive visit for every user:
Why is accessibility important?
Your website is often the first impression a potential customer may have of your business. For users with disabilities, the internet may be the most efficient way to interact with your business and the only impression they receive. By enhancing your website with accessibility features, the customer experience will be smoother and more enjoyable for every user who visits your site. Accommodating everyone's needs is essential to an inclusive experience for every user. An accessible website provides the ability to engage with web material equally as much as other users.
Accessibility has many varying aspects to it, as needs for all disabilities should be met to the best of the website's ability. Fortunately, adding in accessibility tools is much easier than you may think and you likely have the ability to enhance accessibility through your web platform.
Where to start with accessibility.
Creating an accessible website isn't as difficult a task as you'd think but it is vital to making every user feel welcomed and accommodated. There are many additions you can make to your website that vary in difficulty, but most are simple enough to implement quickly.
Even if you're not well-versed in web design, there are changes you can make that will help you to take a step in the right direction. For example, some essential elements that can be easily made would be adjusting colors to have high contrast (this helps to make the text more readable) or adding alt-text to pictures and video. While these may feel like small changes, they make a big difference in enhancing the user experience for everyone.
There are plenty of resources available on the internet created to guide entrepreneurs and professionals to help create a more accessible web experience. If you're looking for a complete overview of accessibility guidelines, the Web Accessibility Initiative offers a guide on how to edit content and technical elements.
Like most projects, it's typically easier to enhance your website's accessibility from the start, so keep that in mind when creating pages in the future. As you become more familiar with accessibility, building a webpage that keeps inclusivity in mind will feel like second nature.
Get expert help.
If you're still feeling unsure about your web design abilities, don't lose hope. There's a solution that can help you to build a more accessible user experience without needing to learn the ins and outs of website building: web experts. These professionals are highly experienced in website building and understand how to add accessibility features, saving you time and hours of Google searching. The best part? You won't have to worry about any extra work beyond the hiring process.
You may now be wondering, where do I find a web expert? Turns out, it's much easier to find an expert than you'd think. You can choose to hire a web expert yourself through freelance websites or a Facebook post asking for recommendations. Another and easier option is to work through a service that provides website experts. Most services will take care of the hiring and vetting of experts as well as the contract details for you, sending you on your way to owning an accessible website in no time.
Creating an accessible website might seem like an overwhelming task, but it's important to have these features in place so that all users have access to interacting with your business. Whether you take on the task of redesigning by yourself or hire a web expert to take care of it, enhancing accessibility will make strides toward a more inclusive internet community for everyone.