A website that looks good, functions smoothly and showcases your products and services effectively is what every business owner wants. But there’s one more goal and it’s just as important, but unfortunately most site owners aren’t even aware of it. Making the site accessible to visitors with disabilities is critically important too – for a host of reasons.
Having a site that’s accessible to the disabled is more than an ethical issue. Ensuring your website complies with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) can help you build long-term business success, while a site that’s not ADA-compliant can cost you more than you might expect. By putting forth the extra effort to make your company’s website fully accessible, you’ll reap a number of significant benefits:
- Additional site traffic. With 26 percent of adult Americans experiencing some kind of disability, limiting your site’s utility for disabled visitors isn’t a good move. Measured globally, there are about 2 billion people who suffer from blindness or visual impairment. Add to that number the many who have dyslexia and other conditions that impact reading and then ask yourself this question: Do I really want to write off (and alienate) that many potential customers by having a site they can’t use?
- Reduced legal risks. Visitors won’t hesitate to challenge your company’s compliance with ADA if violations of the law make it difficult or impossible for them to use the site. As many e-commerce site owners have discovered too late, the costs of making your site compliant are trivial compared to the potential financial ramifications of not doing so. Attorney fees and fines can destroy the business you’ve worked so hard to grow, not to mention the stress and hassle of defending yourself in court. While it’s impossible to guarantee you won’t be sued, making your site compliant can minimize the risk and demonstrate that you’re putting forward your best effort.
- Enhanced brand reputation. An ADA-compliant site demonstrates your company’s commitment to inclusivity and serving everyone. Not all websites are accessible, so making sure yours welcomes visitors with disabilities can help you stand out in the crowd and boost your reputation for thoughtful customer care. Visually impaired site visitors, like everyone else, notice your efforts to offer a pleasant online experience and leave reviews based on their positive (or not-so-positive) impressions of your firm.
- Better SEO. Even sites with good SEO can usually make improvements in optimization. The steps you take to make your website ADA-compliant (such as adding well-crafted alt text and detailed image descriptions, for example) will simultaneously bolster its SEO performance. As a result, while you’re helping everyone enjoy the advantages of the internet age you’re also enabling your business to reach wider audiences among the disabled and non-disabled alike.
- Improved usability. Keyword selection, layout and navigation have a big impact on overall usability of any website. As you review these and other site components, you’re sure to happen upon usability issues that affect typical visitors as well as their disabled counterparts. Large or small, each barrier to easy usage that you discover and then eliminate will enhance usability for everyone who visits the site, not just those with disabilities.
Though you may not have realized it until now, having an ADA-compliant website is good for your business as well as for the community. If you’d like help assessing or improving your site’s compliance, contact the experienced website professionals at WebArc Technologies.