Why does my business need an accessible website?

Did you know that 16 million people in the UK have a disability of some kind?

That’s 24% of the population, with a wide range of disabilities and conditions.

What a sobering statistic!

People viewing our websites could have an array of different needs caused by motor function problems like multiple sclerosis or paralysis, cognitive challenges like dyslexia or attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, or sensory impairments like visual loss and blindness or hearing loss and deafness.

So, from a business standpoint it’s increasingly important to ensure that our websites are accessible to all users.

After all, we don’t want to exclude almost a quarter of our potential customers…

What does the law say?

There’s a good legal reason to make a website accessible.

The Equality Act 2010 protects individuals, including those with disabilities, from unfair treatment. This legislation governs UK websites and it says that site owners must make ‘reasonable adjustments’ to make their sites accessible to people with disabilities. It says businesses and organisations should anticipate the needs of potential disabled customers.

And if reaching another fabulous audience and following the law aren’t enough of a reason, there’s another good business reason for making your website accessible, too.

Accessible websites often rank higher in search engine results and they often have faster loading times.

Customer experience is better – and that can only be good for a brand.

So how can you can improve your website accessibility?

  • Make your design responsive – And ensure your fonts and images are maximised for each device it’ll be viewed on. Something simple like getting the right sized typeface for mobile can make all the difference.

  • Organise your content clearly – use clear headings and white space to separate content items.

  • Build in good colour contrast – use a plugin like ColorShark to calculate the contrast ratios. This is especially useful for people with visual impairments, dyslexia, and colour blindness.

  • Don’t rely on colour contrast alone when giving site visitors important information – identify required fields, for example, with symbols or a caption. Again, important for those with visual disabilities who are using site reading software.

  • Make elements that are interactive stand out – use distinct styles for links and buttons and make them different for mouse hover, touch screen, keyboard focus, and activation by click. Different users with different needs will access the site with their preferred reading method.

  • Make your website navigation consistent – use consistent naming, styling, and layout on all your pages. Add search, a site map on every page, and use clear headings and breadcrumbs.

  • Give confirmation messages for key interactions – this would include finishing a form or completing a payment.

  • Add alt text to images – Alternative text is not just useful to add your keywords. It’s a vital service for those who use screen reading software to help with visual problems.

  • Add subtitles and transcripts – if you use video on your site, include captions and a transcript for those with hearing problems, too.

  • Include easily accessible controls for auto-play items – this could include videos, carousels, and slide-shows. This helps voice input software to navigate them more easily.

  • Allow keyboard navigation – some website visitors won’t be able to use a mouse, including those with motor disabilities and some people with visual disabilities using screen readers.

 

If you need advice on how to improve your website’s accessibility, get in touch! Book a web audit and get my professional advice.

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How much does a website cost?

Good question!

And as with many such questions, the answer is “It depends!”

Professionally built websites can start from around £500 for a very simple build but can easily head up towards £2000-£10,000+ for larger or more bespoke projects. 

You need to consider what your website needs to be able to do in order to make it work well for your business.

Do you need a “shop window” that showcases your products or services and helps your clients to build confidence in your skills and quality?

Do you need a specific functionality such as a booking or payment platform?

How soon do you need your site to be ready?

All of these factors will be taken into consideration when your web developer puts together a quote for you. Best advice? Make sure you know what you want and communicate that clearly with your developer.

And if you’re not sure what you need yet, ask! If you can give your developer an overview of your business and what you want to achieve, they should be able to guide you on the kind of site that will best suit you.