Designing a website with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) in mind is not just a great idea. It’s also an excellent business practice. It helps build brand loyalty and trust by demonstrating your company’s commitment to equal access for all people. Companies who run websites using accessibility tools like accessiBe, are much more likely to attract, retain and grow their customer base for years to come.
Web accessibility is good for business.
Why should businesses care about web accessibility? Because most customers with disabilities also happen to be loyal, regular customers. A study done by the National Center on Accessibility (NCA) found that 83% of people with disabilities are online consumers, and 44% of them spend more than $75 each month online. This is according to the NCA’s survey of more than 2,000 people with disabilities.
For most businesses, attracting new customers is always a challenge. But by making web accessibility part of your business strategy, you’ll automatically widen the pool of prospective customers you can reach. You will be attracting people with disabilities and their family members, friends, and social networks.
“Unequivocally, the benefits of making websites accessible are to make them usable by everyone. When you do that, it makes your website more usable, more maintainable and ultimately more profitable.” -Joe Clark (founder of World Wide Web Consortium’s Accessibility Initiative)
So, in short… Why make your website accessible? Accessibility makes good business sense. When you design an ADA-compliant site, you’re raising brand awareness and recognition for your company, building trust with your customers, and hopefully increasing traffic to your site. You’ll also help people with disabilities find the products or services they’re looking for.
“For every customer with a disability, there are 26 other people who experience the same problem but don’t consider themselves disabled.” – Lainey Feingold (attorney and advocate for web accessibility)
How can I make my site more accessible?
An ADA-compliant website should meet the following criteria: Content must be readable by assistive technology. Content must be navigable with assistive technology. Content and controls in the website should be operable or operable separately (example: links). All content on the site should be labeled semantically, including images. For example, an image of a car shouldn’t simply say “car,” but instead “Ford Mustang.” Text should be resizable without assistive technology needing to reflow the other text on the page. Text should be available in multiple colors and contrast ratios to accommodate users who need or prefer specific color combinations for increased readability/usability. Content should also validate to published web standards.
The ADA and the business case for web accessibility.
ADA buildings and facilities must be designed to meet certain criteria, including: Wide doors (minimum of 32 inches), Accessible ramps (a slope of no more than 1:12), Accessible parking spaces (marked with a sign and at least 96″ x 144″ of clear space) Handrails on both sides of every ramp and stairway Accessible drinking fountains with reach ranges of at least 10 inches High contrast signage Braille signage for elevators.
It’s the same thing on the web. If you’re designing a website that has content, images, or videos, it must be readable without assistive technology. And if your website includes forms, interactive controls (log in, submit), or links, they should also be operable.