Intro to Website Accessibility for Small Brands

Estimated Read time: 8 mins

Any brand that wants to be thought of as reliable and inclusive needs to consider its accessibility on the internet.

Now, more than ever before, having a diverse and inclusive business and brand can be the difference between success and failure. This is also true for a website, not just a brick-and-mortar location. Being inclusive relates not only to race, religion, and gender but to being accessible to those with disabilities as well. If you’re not sure whether your business’s website is inclusive or accessible or you want to get it there, b.iD can help. Let’s explore what website accessibility is, why it’s vital for businesses of all sizes, and other information that can help boost your brand.

What Is Website Accessibility?

Website accessibility intro for small brands and businesses

Image via Unsplash by sigmund

Website accessibility is the ability of your website to be accessible to people with a variety of disabilities. This can include visual and hearing disabilities, among other things. Because the internet is only becoming more and more widely used by consumers and those seeking information on a variety of topics, it’s vital for both large and small companies to ensure they have a website. However, these days, you don’t just need a website; you need a website that all users are able to navigate easily. 

Regardless of whether you already have a website or you’re just starting out and need to plan before you build, we can help you create a successful brand that stands out from the competition. This includes ensuring that your website meets the compliance standards required to make it equally accessible to anyone who visits. Most people are familiar with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), which requires businesses, schools, and employers to offer accommodations like wheelchair ramps and accessible restroom facilities. Unfortunately, not all organizations realize that the act applies to websites too.

Why Is Website Accessibility Important?

Having website accessibility for your brand is important for a number of reasons. Not only do you want to ensure that everyone can use and navigate your site, but you also need to have website accessibility for legal reasons. According to ADA Title III, both large and small businesses that provide goods or services to the public are responsible for complying with accessibility guidelines. Although the ADA doesn’t specifically mention websites in its verbiage, the Department of Justice recently stated that websites do provide accommodations to the public. Therefore, websites are required to be accessible.

Many businesses lose viewers and potential consumers because of inaccessibility of their websites. Those who have a disability might abandon a website that’s too challenging to navigate. A brand that creates an exceptional marketing campaign and has convenient website accessibility is more likely to attract customers and convert them to paying clients.

How Does Website Accessibility Affect a Brand?

Any brand that wants to be thought of as reliable and inclusive needs to consider its accessibility on the internet. This means that your brand must think about how people with disabilities can navigate your website. From having alt text for photos to including the ability for software to read the text on your site, there are so many ways that you can ensure that your business’s website is accessible to anyone and everyone. 

If you’re not sure how to go about making an accessible website, or you just don’t want to deal with the hassle of making the changes and updates yourself, b.iD is here to help. Our team has the skills and patience to create an accessible website for any business. We’ll ensure that your brand stands out from the competition by making each page on your website accessible to a wide range of visitors. In addition to helping you with alt text, we can also:

  • Help add sign language interpretation to videos for those who are deaf.
  • Make sure those with motor skill challenges can navigate with the keyboard instead of the mouse.
  • Convert images and text to high contrast for those with low vision.

These are just a few of the areas that can help make your business’s website more accessible and appealing to all who visit. Let our team of experts help you create a website that not only draws traffic but also keeps that traffic on your site and converts viewers to customers.

What Is Website Compliance?

Website compliance helps ensure that anyone, regardless of their disability, can use a business’s website. It’s important to ensure that your website abides by website compliance if you want to do business with a wide range of internet users. These days, most people use a device, whether it’s a laptop, tablet, or cell phone, to order things online and search for information. This means that the more accessible your website is, the more likely you are to gain the trust and business of those with disabilities.

Unfortunately, there are still many businesses out there that don’t have an accessible website. This has led to many lawsuits, as people have a right, according to the ADA, to equal access to all businesses. This includes any company that has an online presence and provides goods or services. You don’t want to be a company that falls through the cracks where providing the best possible service comes into play. Although many companies today are concerned with cybersecurity measures to protect their customers, website accessibility is equally important.

To have website compliance, you need to make sure that your website offers easy accessibility for anyone with a disability. This can be quite a job, as there are many disabilities to account for. From blindness to motor skill challenges, a website needs to accommodate visitors of all types. Whether it’s closed captions on your videos or software that can help someone navigate using their voice, having the right technology associated with your website can draw in a wide-ranging audience.

What Are Accessibility Guidelines?

It’s important to be aware of what the accessibility guidelines are if you plan to follow and implement them. While you may have an idea of what you need to do for a brick-and-mortar location, the requirements for creating an accessible website aren’t as readily available. When the ADA was adopted back in the ’90s, the internet wasn’t as popular as it is today. This means that, as of yet, there aren’t as many regulations on how websites should make themselves more accessible to those with disabilities.

However, there are more people with disabilities and physical challenges today than there were in the ’90s. So, it’s more important now to create a website that abides by the accessibility guidelines. A website needs to have various features to ensure that all users feel welcome, including alt text, the ability to read text aloud, functions for keyboard alternatives to the mouse, and many other options as well. On your website, you create content, and that content needs to be accessible by anyone who searches for it. 

Although guidelines for website accessibility aren’t standardized, there are some web content accessibility guidelines (WCAG) that web developers should know. The three WCAG levels are:

  • Level A: This is the minimum level and means that your website has very basic accessibility requirements.
  • Level AA: This level means that your website complies with some website accessibility guidelines but has room for improvement.
  • Level AAA: At this level, your entire website is accessible to anyone, regardless of their disability.

These criteria are all testable, which ensures that they meet the guidelines and perform as they should. Your web content needs to be perceivable to a wide range of users, operable for anyone who wants access, understandable for any interface, and robust so that assistive technologies can reliably interpret your content.

If you have the tools that make your website as user-friendly as possible, you’ll gain the trust of all your viewers. Word-of-mouth advertising is one of the best forms in the industry, meaning that when people talk about your business in a positive light, you’ll gain more customers and viewers with less effort on your part. By having a website that’s accessible, you can ensure that people of all ability levels will share their experiences on your site with others.

How Does ADA Apply to a Small Business?

A small business that provides goods or services isn’t exempt from complying with ADA guidelines. These businesses need to accommodate those of all ability levels. This requirement doesn’t exclude a small business’s website. If your website isn’t inclusive, you could face an expensive and time-consuming lawsuit. To avoid this, it’s key to have website accessibility right from the start. If you’re a business that’s just getting started, let us help you build a website that complies with all ADA guidelines right away. We can also help small businesses that already have websites make important updates that align with ADA requirements.

Meeting the ADA’s guidelines shouldn’t be on your agenda just to avoid a costly lawsuit, as it’s more a matter of making your business more inclusive and diverse in an ever-changing world. It’s easy to overlook having a website that’s accessible to everyone, but this isn’t something that will elevate your brand in the years to come. Although it can seem like an overwhelming task, you can rely on the team at b.iD to help you create the website you need to stand out. Don’t let the minutia get in the way of your success.

If you think your brand is at risk of losing customers or facing a potential lawsuit because of a lack of website accessibility, contact us to find out how we can help. From adding alt text to your photos to ensuring anyone can read or hear your content, we’ll help you create a website that stands out from the competition. Schedule a consultation with one of our experts today, and we’ll get your website on the right track. We can determine what your website needs to be in compliance with website accessibility guidelines and resolve any issues it might have.

Categories: b.iD on the Web | Tags: , , , ,