Here’s a secret that most web designers don’t consider.
Make sure your website is accessible to persons with different abilities. Why accessible? Well, remember that not everyone who visits your website will be able to see, hear, or understand your website the way that you envision it, and not everyone is able to use a mouse to navigate through websites, either. However, it is essential that you reach as many people as possible. Unfortunately, many website designers do not design for the special needs of persons with different abilities or varying technologies, but you don’t want to exclude any potential visitor from your site.
Why web accessibility is important
- An accessible website benefits all users, not just those with disabilities. Was there ever a time when you have visited a website and were unsure of how to use it or where to find the information you needed? Did you ever find text on a site difficult to read, either because of its size or color? Have images on a site not loaded, resulting in your inability to use the site? Accessible websites help prevent these problems for everyone, not just visitors with different abilities.
- When website visitors can’t find what they need on your website, they’ll simply abandon it and move on to the next one. If it’s on your site but isn’t easily found, you just lost a potential customer!
- Advocacy groups are beginning to challenge companies whose websites are inaccessible. Some, including retailer Target, have been sued for refusing to make their websites accessible.
- Web accessibility is simply the right thing to do!
More on website qualities…
Why most web designers still don’t make accessible websites
- Some web designers are reluctant to design accessible websites because they believe that accessible design will hamper creativity and style. That is simply not true. After all, a great website is not only appealing, but it is easy to use as well. It simply requires mindful and intentional planning and perhaps approaching things from a different angle, but there are some who don’t want to take the time.
- More often than not, most web designers simply are unaware of web accessibility. Despite a lot of research and discussion on the subject, most designers don’t even know that web accessibility is an option.
Websites should also be usable
In website lingo, usability refers to how easy a website is to use. There’s been a lot of research conducted on usability, so there are some best practices that web designers should use. How many times have you tried to click on something that was underlined but later realized that it really wasn’t a link? Have you ever gotten an error message but didn’t know what it meant or how to fix it?
These are usability issues. Following some of these best practices, such as only underlining links and writing error messages in plain language, will make your website visitors happy.
With this information about web accessibility and usability, you’re better prepared to talk to web designers. Remember to work with one who cares about making sure your website is accessible and usable to all your visitors.
If you’d like to learn more, you can read through my articles of web accessibility. You can also go right to the source: the Web Accessibility Initiative (WAI), part of the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C).