Web inclusivity and accessibility are two aspects of website design that have become a matter of extreme importance in recent times. The world is changing and so are the demographics. As a business, it is imperative that your digital properties, your websites and apps, are accessible to all kinds of users irrespective of their region, socio-economic background, age and disabilities. Only then can you tap 100 percent of your customers. Not just that, building accessible websites is an act of social inclusivity that eliminates barriers of all kinds and delivers a positive user experience to people from varied backgrounds.
It’s important for businesses to understand that the social fabric has undergone a sea change in the last decade. The debate around inclusivity and accessibility has been raging in all spheres of life, and access to digital content of varying natures is one of them. This aspect can have a long-lasting impact on your business. Not just it creates a positive image for your brand but also enables users of all kinds to interact with your digital properties. website development agency
What is an inclusive and accessible website design?
Web accessibility is all about a website design that enables users with a disability to access and browse the website with ease. These disabilities could be visual, auditory, speech, cognitive, neurological, and physical. Creating websites that allow users with these impairments is essential. This can be done by:
- Including alternative text for all images and successive headings to aid visual disability
- Providing closed captions and transcripts for video audio content to aid auditory impairment
- Enabling other alternatives for speech inputs for people with a speech disability
- Creating easy-to-navigate designs for users with cognitive issues
- Developing with no or minimum flickering visuals or auto-play videos to make the browsing experience soothing for users with neurological challenges
- Adding keyboard inputs for those who cannot use a mouse
Web inclusivity, on the other hand, surpasses even disability as an issue and encompasses other restrictive factors like demographics, age, economic background, digital literacy, etc. It’s a concept where a website is devoid of all biases and assumptions that may restrict users from using a website. Web-inclusive websites must consider (in addition to the above-mentioned points):
- Situational limitations of users that may prevent them from using a website
- Technical challenges like hardware, internet access, computer knowledge, etc.
- Language and geographic constraints
- Other demographic differences like gender, age, and race
- Socio-economic reasons
As important as it is to develop inclusive and accessible websites, creating one requires a greater understanding of different kinds of limitations that various users may face while browsing. Unfortunately, there isn’t a tool yet that will determine how well your website design fares at being inclusive or accessible. Designers must use their experience and knowledge to ensure that their designs fulfil as many requirements as possible. Contact us about corporate website
How businesses benefit from accessible and inclusive designs
One of the major aims for businesses to have a website is to reach customers across time zones and geographical locations so that they can expand their business. Higher accessibility and wider inclusivity amount to the same. It ensures that users of all walks of life are able to have a similar browsing experience as any other ‘normal’ user would. Although it is rather politically incorrect to categorize the majority as normal, its use is important to get the concept clear.
Those requiring accessibility and inclusivity clauses in website design make for a huge number globally and businesses who wish to tap a global audience must take that into account. To give you an idea, a study by World Data Lab says that 1.1 billion people across the world are internet-poor. What this means is that these many people either can’t afford mobile data, even if they can, they can only access limited amounts of it. So, they can’t afford to spend too much time on design and resource-heavy, data-consuming websites. And that is just one of the factors requiring accessible and inclusive designs. If we include other factors like old age, computer illiteracy, unavailability of hardware, etc., the total number would come to a lot more.
So, does this make it clear why businesses need to create accessible and inclusive websites? I guess so. However, the number of people you stand at reaching is just one of the factors that make these two concepts so important for businesses. Accessibility and inclusiveness can also impact your brand perception among your existing and prospective customers. People want to align with brands that exhibit such responsible behaviour and accountability towards their customers. A commitment towards the benefit of society and its people goes a long way in building brand perceptions and loyalty. When your users see that you are taking proactive steps towards breaking all kinds of barriers and delivering a great user experience, they are more likely to see your brand in a positive light. This sure impacts the brand to a great extent.
Above all, accessibility and inclusivity are part of a global movement that is changing consumer expectations. Several brands like Microsoft, Facebook and Twitter have added special features to ensure that their platforms are more accessible to a wider audience. We are functioning in a globalized world, where boundaries don’t exist anymore. Or, at least, they should not. And businesses must ensure that their digital properties reflect this growing phenomenon of inclusivity, not just in our social sphere, but in the business world as well. Talk to us about SEO and Digital Marketing Agency