Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) define how people with different abilities or needs can use your site and access its content. But these aren’t merely standards. In most cases, they’re the law—compliance is not only mandatory, it is legally binding.
A lack of accessibility can make you vulnerable to expensive lawsuits. And that's not the only drawback. Non-compliance with WCAG guidelines can also lead to increased costs in customer support. For example, if someone with a speech impairment has an issue that needs support from your company; it’s not easy for them to call. Instead, they’re likely to use a TTY or touch device to send text messages. If your telco doesn’t support incoming texts, you need to buy hardware and install it and train your employees to use it. It’s much better for everyone if these customers can use your website to communicate about any issues.
On the flip side, there are several benefits of complying with WCAG guidelines. In this article, we’ll discuss 5 big benefits of web accessibility for your business and your customers.
1. Improved usability
Web accessibility not only makes your website accessible by disabled users, it goes a long way in improving your website's overall usability and user-experience.
Imagine a person who is physically incapable of using a mouse, trying to access your website. Making your website accessible or navigable with a keyboard will not just benefit disabled users it will also benefit your broader user base. It will also yield long-term benefits such as improved customer loyalty.
There are many other web accessibility recommendations to improve the general usability of your site. E.g., alternative text for images on your website can help people with slow internet speeds understand the purpose of the content before or while it loads.
Here are some Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) that benefit people with different abilities or needs to access your site and its content. || Talk to our team to learn how we design the architecture of influence to encourage exploration and maximize conversion.
2. Brand building
The gap between professional lives and personal values has narrowed. People want to do business with those who align with their core values. A recent survey revealed that 62 percent of consumers prefer purchasing from a brand that is willing to take a stand on issues and 47 percent are willing to walk away if they are not aligned with a company’s words or actions. These are big numbers.
The cause of web accessibility is extremely important for people with disabilities as well as disability rights advocates. When you commit to building an accessible website you will be sending out a message to the entire community about your support to the cause. This will position your organization as a brand that cares for the disabled. As a result, your business will get favorable reviews and recommendations from people that matter.
It is also a good idea to write an accessibility statement for your website. This statement will reiterate your commitment to web accessibility and describe the steps that you have taken to accommodate people with disabilities.
3. Better SEO
An accessible website doesn't just make your site more usable — it also improves your overall site score thereby making your site more likely to be found by search engines. This can help you drive more traffic to your website.
In simpler words, WCAG compliance is good for your SEO.
There are also cases where a business' web accessibility goals are aligned with its SEO goals. The reason is evident - a website with a clean interface and easy navigation is helpful for people with disabilities, and it also reduces your bounce rate (the percentage of visitors who leave your website after only one page visit).
4. Higher revenue
Imagine opening a large department store and excluding products for left-handed people. Not only would you be doing a disservice to the entire segment of left-handed population, you will also be missing out on revenue opportunities.
According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 1 in 4 U.S. adults are living with a disability (including hearing disabilities, visual disabilities, motor disabilities, etc.). This is a large segment of the population.
Improving your website’s accessibility makes great business sense. You don’t have to design a website that’s accessible to every disabled person—a few basic tweaks can go a long way in helping people with disabilities use your site.
A retailer in a specific but competitive space increased the accessibility features on its website, and that led to greater per-session sales, more community word of mouth, and better long-term loyalty.
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5. Avoid getting labeled
Internet usage has exploded and it is now a necessity, just like a basic public service. Web accessibility can be a civil right for people with disabilities. According to the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), people with disabilities can enjoy equal access to public services.
While the ADA does not directly address web accessibility yet, it can be interpreted to extend into the digital sphere as well. There have been certain instances where it was concluded by the U.S. Department of Justice that the lack of accessibility for websites is a violation of the ADA.
The statistics speak for themselves. 2,258 web accessibility lawsuits were filed in the U.S. two years ago, nearly tripling from 814 lawsuits in 2017. If you are a business that wants to avoid claims of discrimination and face the resultant legal action, make sure you work to implement web accessibility standards.
Web accessibility doesn't just benefit people with disabilities. Its advantages include boosted brand image, better search engine rankings, and an overall improvement in website usability.
By investing in web accessibility, you will be opening your doors to more customers, which will subsequently result in improved sales and a definite competitive edge when a competitor might not accommodate certain customers. But how do you get started?
We Can Help
It’s a lot to take in. Knowing how and what to do, and in what order of priority, requires experience. At TA Digital, we’re doing just this — applying our experience to a variety of sites, from ecommerce to informational.
We focus on following the latest standards and practices and using the latest testing methods to make sure our clients get all the benefits of being WCAG compliant.
About TA Digital
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Over the past 20 years, TA Digital has positioned clients to achieve digital maturity by focusing on data, customer-centricity, and exponential return on investment; by melding exceptional user experience and data-driven methodologies with artificial intelligence and machine learning, we enable digital transformations that intelligently build upon the strategies we set into motion. We are known as a global leader that assists marketing and technology executives in understanding the digital ecosystem while identifying cultural and operational gaps within their business – ultimately ushering organizations toward a more mature model and profitable digital landscape.
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