LegalReader.com  ·  Legal News, Analysis, & Commentary

Business

7 Reasons Web Accessibility Should Be Your Top Priority for 2021


— December 23, 2020

If people find your site inaccessible, you could land yourself in the midst of legal actions for noncompliance. Renowned brands such as Sears, Target, and Nike have had to pay hefty fines, and with the turbulent economic conditions, you can’t afford this.


Thank you, COVID-19, for showing us just how dexterous we all can be. But this pandemic is far from over. As the second wave rolls in, coinciding with the New Year, we’ve yet to see what 2021 holds in store.

There’s no denying that this past year has been a tough year for everyone, from students to parents to professionals from all walks of life. 

Studies show that business owners have been hit the hardest. It’s not only that they have had to face decreased buying power from consumers, but they also have had to shift onto the online platform almost instantaneously.

The challenge, however, lies in doing it properly.

So what criteria should online business owners be looking at?

For starters, accessibility needs to be on top of the list. 

That simply means making your website easy to use by everyone, especially those who are permanently handicapped. This includes auditory, speech, visual, cognitive, neurological, or physical disabilities. However, it also means offering social inclusion to those who are older or live in rural/developing areas. 

The impact of web accessibility on your business is greater than you can imagine.

If you’re wondering just why accessibility will be so crucial for the coming year, here’s a list of reasons to help you make sense of it all:

1. Most of the people will be at home

Lockdowns are becoming more common, and it’s possible that this trend could continue well into the New Year. It means digital interactions will increase, with people working, shopping, studying, and doing everything else from home. 

What are you doing to cash in on this opportunity? 

With more people working remotely, you need to ensure your website is as easily accessible as your physical public space so that people can continue to interact with you (online and offline) no matter what the circumstances are. 

2. Connect with a bigger customer base

20% of the US population (more than 60 million people) has permanent disabilities. 

More importantly, the US Census Bureau is showing that the average lifespan is increasing. This means that there will be more individuals with age-related impairments. 

Connecting with all potential customers is getting more critical than ever. Competition in the digital landscape is only going to get tougher. 

If your target audience cannot access information on your site about your products and services or finds your website difficult to use, they’ll simply search for another website. According to clickawaypound.com, 71% of visitors leave a site that’s not accessible.

More alarmingly, Salesforce quotes that 74% are likely to switch brands if they find the purchasing process too complicated. So you miss out on the short-term (sales) as well as long-term (consumer loyalty) benefits. 

3. Get ahead of the crowd 

Even before the pandemic took control of the reins, the founder and CEO of Zenyth Group, Daryn Harpaz, pointed out that more than 85% of websites don’t offer an inclusive experience. What does this mean?

Man holding pair of glasses, surrounding scenery blurry; image by Josh Calabrese, via Unsplash.com.
Man holding pair of glasses, surrounding scenery blurry; image by Josh Calabrese, via Unsplash.com.

People with disabilities cannot access these websites. Making your website accessible to everyone sets it apart from the majority of the ones on the internet. So you guessed right, people with usability issues will be drawn to your site.

And this takes us to the next point.

4. Helps to grow revenue and customer loyalty

Times are tough, and they’ll get more stringent. Since the competition on the digital landscape will only get fiercer, it’s time to go back to our primal instincts- survival of the fittest. 

By making your website easy to browse and shop, you’re enhancing the customer’s online experience. This allows visitors to interact longer with your brand, the greater the chances of a sale, and the more revenue you’ll generate. 

In fact, 81% of customers will pay more for a product from an accessible website, even if the same product costs less on an inaccessible website. And this is an opportunity that you shouldn’t waste.

But here’s the catch. Happy customers will be drawn to your brand. Over 80% will return to a website that is accessible, continuing to shop and support a brand that caters to their needs. Couldn’t have asked for a better way to increase loyalty?

5. Improve brand image

Your website is an extension of your brand. By making your site accessible, consumers can see that you place your customers’ needs ahead of anything else. This amp up your brand image, often converting your customers into brand ambassadors. 

Moreover, people who find your site accessible and have satisfactory interactions with your brand will recommend it to family, friends, and social media followers, helping to build positive PR.

6. Facilitates SEO strategies and efforts

Creating an accessible website demands that business owners offer straightforward navigation, a clean web design, lucid structure, use alt texts, and video transcripts. While these aspects significantly enhance web accessibility, they also improve UX and SEO campaigns.

And you need all of this to stay on Google’s radar and rank higher in search. Remember, people will be accessing information more from search as restrictions, and social distancing are enforced in 2021.

7. Avoid expensive lawsuits

If people find your site inaccessible, you could land yourself in the midst of legal actions for noncompliance. Renowned brands such as Sears, Target, and Nike have had to pay hefty fines, and with the turbulent economic conditions, you can’t afford this.

Cases against website accessibility are on the rise. Businesses from various industries have been caught in the crossfire. Ensure you take the right measures to protect your business from a lawsuit.

Join the conversation!