You likely don’t need a survey to tell you that the vast majority of business owners and web experts cite expense as their primary concern when it comes to digital accessibility, but if you do – there are plenty of surveys out there that make exactly this point. Naturally, many businesses are also concerned about having to rebuild their websites from scratch in order to maximize the browsing experience they offer – and about the investment of both time and money involved. Fortunately, there’s good news on the horizon.
Currently, Accessibility Isn’t Great
A lot of attention is paid to exactly how much it costs to enhance accessibility and to the fact that, to date, there are no game-changing remedies. This is exactly why – as WEBAIM reports – that accessibility rates for the 1.3 billion people around the world who live with disabilities are exceptionally low. We all know that accessibility is a worthy goal, but you may not realize that it is also an opportunity to grow your market share, which is hard to argue with.
How Focusing on Accessibility Helps
To begin with, it’s important to point out that the American Disabilities Act is not here to play. Digital accessibility cases are on the rise, and as such, big business is paying attention. No one wants to be hit with a lawsuit – especially a lawsuit that shines a less-than-flattering light on one’s inclusivity. This approach, however, is shortsighted at best. Yes, inclusivity helps those living with disabilities expand their horizons – making it an excellent focus for businesses everywhere. Inclusivity also, however, expands potential customer pools, which should shoot improving the browsing experience for all users to the top of your to-do list.
The Largest Minority in the Nation
Too many people are under the mistaken belief that people with disabilities are a niche group without much market weight. Marginalizing any minority group because of a perception they are not a substantial enough target isn’t a winning strategy – and to set the record straight, people with disabilities are the largest minority in the nation.
The CDC reports that one in four adults in the United States is living with a disability, and this number shoots upward when you factor in temporary disabilities. It’s estimated that people with disabilities are in control of nearly 2 trillion in disposable income across the globe, and when you consider the spending power of the people who love and stand behind them, this number skyrockets to $10 trillion. In other words, it makes financial sense to make digital accessibility a priority.
Digital Accessibility Doesn’t Have to Be Scary
If you’re a small business owner whose digital marketing budget is already stretched too thin, digital accessibility may feel completely out of your reach, but it doesn’t have to be. At its heart, digital accessibility is all about bulldozing the barriers that bar people with disabilities from browsing your website.
This doesn’t, however, mean you’re going to need to rip up your site and start again. Instead, you can begin small and build from there. In fact, minor tweaks can make a big difference. Consider the World Wide Web Consortium’s advice regarding the language you employ:
- Make your content unambiguous. You have something to share, and you should do so in the most straightforward way possible.
- Embrace white spaces.
- Separate your instructions so they don’t become muddled or compete with one another.
- Choose images that clearly depict what you’re attempting to share.
- Post well-crafted videos that tell a direct story. Save the arthouse videos for another venue.
With the above in mind, consider the following guidelines in relation to word and language choices:
- Use clear language and words that are easy to understand – there’s no need to get fancy.
- Stick to shorter sentences and shorter paragraphs that render shorter text blocks.
- Stick to simple present tense and simple past tense. Searchers are not interested in following complicated tense shifts.
- Choose words that have clear, literal meanings.
- Skip double negatives and clauses that nest within one another.
- Keep your text short and sweet.
- Opt for straightforward punctuation and formatting.
- When it comes to longer documents and media, provide succinct summaries.
- When a meaning is implied, explain it.
While these suggestions can certainly help those with learning disabilities and reading challenges, they’re also a best writing practice – just ask your high school composition teacher. Simply tightening up your text, photos, and videos can help you improve your site’s digital accessibility painlessly.
Accessibility and Discoverability Go Hand in Hand
You want your website to be accessible and as discoverable as possible, and this is one of those rare instances when there’s no need to find balance. These goals align perfectly with one another. For example, when you make it your habit to employ headings that are both clear and descriptive, you not only make your website more navigable for those with disabilities, but you also endear yourself to Google’s search engine machinations.
In fact, all signs point to Google giving cred for accessibility in relation to rank. The fact is that the more attention you pay to using accessible language and writing, the better optimized your website becomes for voice search, which is only increasing in popularity and is an important tool for many people with disabilities.
Talk Accessibility with a Digital Marketing Professional Today
Content has always been important, but it’s never seen the kind of hype it’s getting lately – and there’s a good reason for that. The form your content takes directly affects your marketing reach, and by improving its accessibility, you also swing wide the gates of opportunity. Whether you’re planning on doing some major overhauling in relation to accessibility or are ready to explore early steps forward, the SEO & web pros at The Web Guys have got you covered. Improved accessibility is a worthy goal that can also bolster your bottom line, and you can learn more by reaching out and contacting or calling us at (317) 805-4933 today.