Website accessibility means designing and developing websites that are accessible to people with disabilities, like visual, auditory, motor, or cognitive impairments. It’s about making sure everyone can access the content and functionality of a website.
In Australia 1 in 6 people have a disability, that’s around 4.4 million people, and 91% of the Australian population uses the internet. To not take into consideration such a substantial sector of potential users/customers is essentially locking them out of your organisation and services. Having a strong accessibility strategy in place is the key to unlocking your organisation for people living with disability to engage with your services.
Accessibility starts with a well-designed, well-developed website. It means considering accessibility at every stage of the website development process.
Website accessibility best practices include:
- Providing alternative text for images and other non-text content to assist users with visual impairments in understanding the content.
- Using colour contrast and font sizes that are easy to read for users with visual impairments.
- Provide keyboard navigation options for users who cannot use a mouse.
- Ensure that all multimedia content (such as videos and audio files) is captioned or transcribed for users who are deaf or difficult of hearing.
- It is important to avoid flashing or blinking content that can trigger seizures in users with photosensitive epilepsy.
- Make sure that website functionality can be accessed with assistive technologies such as screen readers, magnifiers, and speech recognition software.
- Providing clear and concise instructions and feedback to assist users with cognitive impairments in understanding the website’s content and functionality.
By following these guidelines, you can create a more inclusive and accessible online experience for all users, regardless of their ability.
Impact on Google Ranking
Website accessibility can have an impact on Google’s ranking, although it is not a direct ranking factor. Google has stated that it prioritises websites that provide a positive user experience, and accessibility is a crucial aspect of the user experience.
In addition, Google’s algorithm takes into account how long users stay on a website, how many pages they visit, and how often they return. Websites that are inaccessible to users with disabilities may have a higher bounce rate or lower engagement, which can negatively affect their ranking.
Furthermore, Google has introduced a feature called “accessibility” in its Lighthouse tool, which evaluates a website’s accessibility based on a set of standards. A higher accessibility score can indicate to Google that a website is more user-friendly and may influence its ranking.
Website Accessibility Impacts on Conversion
Website accessibility can have a significant impact on conversion rates, as it can affect the user experience for people with disabilities. By making a website more accessible, you can improve the user experience for people with disabilities, which can lead to higher engagement, longer session durations, and ultimately, increased conversions.
Here are some ways that website accessibility can impact conversion rates:
- Increased engagement: When a website is accessible, users with disabilities can engage with the content more easily. This can lead to longer session durations, more pages viewed, and ultimately, higher engagement with the website.
- Improved user experience: A more accessible website can improve the user experience for all users, not just those with disabilities. This can lead to higher satisfaction and an increased likelihood of returning to the website in the future.
- Expanded customer base: By making a website more accessible, you can expand your potential customer base to include people with disabilities. This can lead to increased conversions from a previously untapped market.
- Positive brand image: By prioritising website accessibility, you can demonstrate a commitment to inclusivity and social responsibility. This can improve the brand image and reputation, leading to increased trust and loyalty from customers.
Website accessibility can have a positive impact on conversion rates by improving the user experience, increasing engagement, expanding the customer base, and building a positive brand image.
Legal Requirements For Website Accessibility In Australia
In Australia, there are legal requirements for website accessibility under the Disability Discrimination Act 1992 (DDA) and the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.1.
The DDA prohibits discrimination on the grounds of disability in many areas of public life, including access to goods and services. This includes websites and digital content.
WCAG 2.1 provides a set of guidelines for making web content more accessible to people with disabilities. These guidelines cover various aspects of website design, such as text alternatives for non-text content, colour contrast, keyboard accessibility, and more.
The Australian government recommends following WCAG 2.1 Level AA guidelines for all government websites, as well as for other organizations that provide services to the public.
Failure to comply with the DDA and WCAG 2.1 guidelines can result in legal action, including fines and compensation payments. It is imperative for website owners to ensure that their websites are accessible to people with disabilities to avoid legal issues and to provide equal access to their services.
Are you ready to unlock your organisation for millions of people? The Creative Collective are experts in website accessibility and have vast experience in the NFP and disability services sector. Chat with us today about your website project. We can make sure that your website not only performs and looks amazing but also provides the most enjoyable user experience for all.