Do you know if impaired users are able to interact with your website? If the answer to that question is no, you may also be unaware of how many potential visitors, and ultimately customers, you are turning away.
The Accessibility Issue
According to the 2010 census, 8.1 million (3.3%) people in the U.S. alone have a vision impairment that may disrupt their usage of some websites. This includes those with color blindness and people that rely on assistive technologies like screen readers or magnifiers. If your website uses poorly-chosen, overlapping colors, text that is too small to read, or text in images which can’t be accessed by a screen reader, then you’re preventing a large number of users from being able to effectively navigate your website.
Additionally, 7.6 million Americans have a hearing impairment that may inhibit them from using your website properly. The severely impaired, especially the fully deaf, will need extra assistance in order to accurately consume video and audio media provided on your site.
Why Should you Care?
Accessibility and SEO overlap in many areas. By providing easier access for disabled users, you can also boost how well your website ranks on search engines like Google, Bing, and Yahoo. Some of the areas that these two concepts combine are image captioning, video transcription, the size and color contrast of text, and the proper use of header tags, but there are also many more.
Impaired web-surfers are more likely to use your website or service than another website that doesn’t offer the same ease of access. It’s possible to steal clients from your competition simply by providing them a site with better accessibility.
- Avoid using small fonts for the text on your website
- You should also avoid using any fonts that could be difficult to decipher
- Provide ALT tags on all of your images so that visually impaired visitors using screen readers are aware of the content provided by your graphics
- Display captions or provide transcripts for all of the video and audio media that you host
- Make proper use of header tags (h1, h2, etc.) so screen readers can accurately describe your web page
If you’d like to learn more about how to increase the accessibility of your website, the following resources are the most popular standards.