Accessibility is as much important for online business as it is for brick and mortar stores. While the concept of accessibility about brick and mortar stores primarily pertains to accommodating people with disabilities into the store, which is a legal requirement, it acquires a much wider dimension for online stores.
While business owners are eager to maintain high visibility for online business, it has no meaning unless they can include all kinds of website visitors no matter what might be the level of physical abilities. Website owners must ensure that visitors to the site can access every part of the site including all media, visuals, and content. You must not leave anything out of reach of visitors in the interest of your business.
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The obstacles to accessibility
It may sound something easy to achieve, but it is not so. What would happen if someone with some physical impairment visits your website? Would such visitors get the same viewing pleasure as their regular counterparts? Will they be able to use the site effectively for transacting business? The questions acquire special significance in the light of the information that 11 million residents of UK have some physical disability and half of this population use the internet regularly. 9 million people are deaf or hard of hearing and 40, 000 people of the age 25 years or younger are blind or partially blind. It is the time that you get ready to make your site accessible and useful to all types of visitors.
Optimize for accessibility of all users
You must now consider a new factor for optimizing websites with a focus on accessibility to all kinds of users. The new steps in optimization begin with web developers, webmasters and business owners incorporating unique design features right from the time of building websites so that there are no barriers for any visitors regardless of their physical abilities. Besides increasing your audience reach, you comply with the legal requirement as stated in the Convention on the rights of persons with disabilities declared by the United Nations. By providing equal opportunity to all users, you demonstrate how much dedicated your business is towards social responsibilities. Read on to know how you can make your website universally accessible to all kinds of users. Some of the steps might already be covered by you.
Responsive website design
It might sound stale because you must have heard a lot about the importance of mobile friendly website design known as responsive design. The chances are that you already have it because Google has made it very clear that it prefers responsive websites and the proliferation of mobile devices has almost made it mandatory. The design feature makes websites much more accessible from different devices including mobile phones.
Think about people with poor vision or partial blindness who will never be able to view website content created in average text size or smaller. They would feel comfortable to see large texts. Since using large text on websites can be detrimental for the overall design as it can give sloppy looks, arrange to provide a text re-sizing tool. The tool allows users to select the convenient text size that makes viewing pleasurable for them. Alternatively, make provision for the website to work at different zoom levels of the browser. A company like Grant McArthur in Glasgow can help you with proper guidance in web design.
Text to speech option
Some visitors to your website may not be able to use the traditional methods of interaction with computers by using keypads, mouse and may even be unable to use their fingers. To facilitate this section of visitors enjoy your website, incorporate the feature of voice to text recognition so that they can overcome the physical hurdles of accessing the site.
If you have infographics on your site and use videos, podcasts together with streaming media then you must have the option of providing captions and transcripts of the content. It will help people with poor vision, those hard of hearing or having some other infirmity to consume the content without difficulty.
Not all visitors to your website can see the images in the same way. Some people are unable to see pictures in the way ordinary people can. For such visitors, the web design must have the facility of alternative text that explains the image as displayed on the screen together with a caption. This helps them to understand what the image intends to portray jointly with the underlying message.
It is true that incorporating the design features will increase the work of web designers to some real extent. However, the benefits that you derive from it are immense not only for business but also for humanity. You are creating equal opportunities for all and helping to serve a bigger social cause while ensuring a wider outreach for business.