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Digital Accessibility: Why You (And Your Brand) Should Start Thinking About It Today!

digital accessibility

Have you imagined yourself trying to access important information online but having trouble finding it because of a disability? This is what happens frequently with more than one billion people around the world.

15% of the world’s population experience some type of disability and although in the last few years accessibility has been a priority for many companies, when it comes to digital accessibility, brands still have a long path ahead.

A survey by the English company Click-Away Pound showed that 69% of respondents have already abandoned websites due to lack of accessibility. In addition, 86% said that if online stores were affordable, they would spend more.

So, if your platform is not accessible, you are not just impeding people from having free access to information and services on the internet, you are also losing money!

Are you still wondering if it is important to start thinking about digital accessibility right now? Check out why this so important!

What is digital accessibility?

Digital accessibility means breaking down barriers on the internet for people with disabilities. It is about making websites, apps or any other online tools accessible for everyone.

The Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) is the world’s standard reference for most website accessibility-related legislation and has established four principles that should serve as a guide for web content production.

Perceivable

Elements and information must be perceived by one’s senses and nothing can be undetectable or invisible.

Operable

Interactive elements — buttons, controls, etc — must be physically operated (clicking, swiping, scrolling). Voice commands or other assistive devices must be available.

Understandable

Information must be presented clearly and consistently so that the end user fully understands the content.

Robust

The content must be compatible with various ‌technologies,‌ including‌ ‌assistive ‌devices.

If a page or site does not follow these four principles, it will not be accessible to all users.

Why is it important to think about (and practice) digital accessibility?

The data we’ve seen shows that it’s not just the audience of people with disabilities that wins when brands invest in digital accessibility. It is, moreover, a way to differentiate your brand from most competitors, taking your message, products and services to everyone.

In addition to reaching a huge range of potential customers, the company will be seen even more as a promoter of diversity, inclusion and accessibility, being recognized as a more humanized brand. And we know that fortunately this has been a highly valued topic by consumers.

Digital accessibility still has an impact on your site’s performance when it comes to SEO. You know that Core Web Vitals algorithms from Google are all about user experience, right? It means you have to provide a great navigation for all.

For users without disabilities, it means a better experience on your site. So the removal of barriers, added to the improvement of the user experience and a greater reach of your content will certainly contribute to your pages ranking better.

In the US, the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) establishes digital accessibility requirements for several industries. There are already lawsuits with allegations of violation of this law in which companies have been ordered to pay large settlements.

So above all, following WCAG guidelines will help your company stay ADA compliant and avoid legal fees.

And how do you start?

WCAG has a list of practices to apply to web content, but to start, there are some simple improvements that you must implement and put as a standard from now on.

  • Include subtitles in all videos
  • Include alt text in all images
  • Have text and/or audio options for all non-text content
  • Use content that can be presented in different ways without losing context;
  • Have all functionalities accessible by keyboard;
  • Don’t include elements/shapes known to cause seizures.
  • Offer ways to help users navigate
  • Allow screen readers to review a website for a visually impaired user.

Investing in digital accessibility is not just a good SEO practice or an user experience improvement, but it is a way to position your company as a brand that genuinely cares about, supports, encourages and puts diversity and inclusion into practice.

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