In the era of digital technology, web accessibility has become a crucial part of design and user experience. There are over 1.3 billion people with disabilities globally, so it’s important for brands and marketers to ensure that websites and digital platforms are accessible to everyone. Despite technological advancements, many websites still don’t meet the necessary accessibility standards, which means a significant portion of the population is excluded from the digital world.
According to WebAIM, a nonprofit organization focused on web accessibility, only 3.7% of websites adequately cater to people with disabilities. This alarming statistic highlights the urgent need for brands to adopt accessibility practices, as this market represents $1.3 trillion in disposable income.
One recommended tool for evaluating accessibility is the WAVE browser extension, which can identify critical WCAG (Web Content Accessibility Guidelines) issues. However, relying solely on one tool may not provide a comprehensive assessment. It’s advised to use at least two tools to accurately gauge accessibility.
Accessibility covers a wide range of impairments, including visual, auditory, cognitive, and motor disabilities. People who are blind, dyslexic, have ADHD, or have other forms of neurodivergence need websites with accessible design features to navigate confidently. Clear button descriptions, video transcriptions, and informative audio can greatly assist visually impaired and neurodivergent users.
Moreover, accessibility isn’t just a moral obligation, but also a business opportunity. Brands that prioritize accessibility practices can tap into an untapped market of another billion individuals, creating a more inclusive online experience that resonates with a diverse range of customers.
However, implementing accessibility goes beyond web design. Marketing teams must also ensure hardware accessibility. By considering different abilities and catering to various personas and personality types, a product launch campaign can reach a larger audience and drive better engagement.
While guidelines like the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and the European Accessibility Act (EAA) exist, they haven’t kept up with governing digital spaces. Therefore, brands must develop their own accessibility guidelines tailored to their specific products and digital experiences. These guidelines should be integrated into workflows to ensure accessibility is considered from the beginning of development.
To aid in this process, Google’s Lighthouse accessibility audit tool can be used to assess accessibility levels. Additionally, checklist workflows should be implemented to ensure that accessibility guidelines are met before websites and campaigns go live.
It’s important to note that even small details, such as hard-to-find unsubscribe links in marketing emails, can pose challenges for people with disabilities. Therefore, every aspect of digital content distribution must be carefully reviewed and tested for accessibility.
In conclusion, web accessibility is not a luxury, but a necessity. It empowers people with disabilities to navigate the digital world confidently and allows brands to tap into a vast market of potential customers. By integrating accessibility into web design, development workflows, and marketing campaigns, brands can create a more inclusive and accessible digital experience for everyone, while also benefiting from increased engagement and revenue.
With the potential to impact the lives of 1.3 billion people worldwide, the importance of web accessibility cannot be ignored. Brands must take the lead in making the digital world accessible to all, breaking down barriers and unlocking the internet’s full potential for everyone.