The Right Place for Accessibility
Jackie Latham, founder of Jackdaw Web Design, is an expert in accessibility for websites. And here she airs a recent bug bear from speaking to people about improving their website.
“Accessibility is something that is applicable to every website. In a world that is moving forward driven by diversity, engagement and inclusion, it is ludicrous to not make your website accessible.
“However, you would be surprised how many companies I have been speaking to that respond they are not bothered about adding accessibility to their website, as ‘that’s not our target audience’.
“Accessibility isn’t just for a ‘target audience’ though. It is for everyone. It’s not just about alt-text on images, or about screen readers for the poor of sight.
“Applied correctly accessibility can, for example, allow visitors to your site to navigate it using a keyboard, which is very handy if you’ve broken your wrist. Or if you add subtitles to videos it doesn’t just help the hard of hearing, but also anyone trying to watch your video whilst travelling on a train.
“In a nutshell, by making your website accessible, you are committing to best practice and ensuring that all of your visitors, not just people with disabilities, have a decent user experience, allowing everyone to easily access all the content and information – and, more importantly, to click that BUY button!
“Older people, those with temporary incapacities, those in rural areas, or those not able to connect with the digital era due to lack of knowledge can be helped by accessibility features. People on the move or travelling, even people multi-tasking such as parents with noisy children, call all benefit too.
“Text to speech features and speech recognition allow people to use websites and control actions with their voice – great for people who have been in an accident or who are multi-tasking.
“The benefits are massive. Its implementation will increase audience reach, improve SEO ranking you higher in Google, increase site usability, avoid potential complaints and gain a competitive edge over competitors.
“Most importantly, morally and ethically, it is quite simply the right thing to do. It highlights you as a good business, and makes for a better design of website. In fact in some cases, it is becoming a legislative requirement, which I will talk about in my next blog.”