For users who have limited or no in-depth knowledge about website accessibility, it can be difficult to identify any difference between a website with or without accessibility features. However, ensuring your website has updated accessible features will increase your conversions and customer loyalty while reducing your cart abandonment and bounce rates.
Accessibility helps the 1 in 5 people within the UK who identify as having a disability which affects their sight, hearing or cognitive ability through additional website features. In theory, companies with an online presence should be consistently finding new ways to bring in audiences and maintain customer loyalty. As 13 million potential users in the UK require accessibility features, it seems logical that businesses would have updated their accessibility features to cater to these users. However, this is far from true and even in 2019 with accessibility-based lawsuits being filed every day across the world, websites are still letting down their users.
Here are 6 key website accessibility features your website needs:
1) Keyboard-friendly – Your website must be functional without a mouse, meaning users can easily navigate your website with their keyboard without becoming stuck or lost
2) Alt -Text – Website images are a great way of adding additional information to a page or boosting interest. However, for users with screen-readers, images without alt-texts come up as unknown or blank. This can confuse the user and even lead to high bounce rates as screen readers are unable to identify the image
3) Contrast – Colour differences between background and text play a key role in your website’s readability. Even non-accessible users will exhibit frustration when trying to interact with a poorly contrasted website, as users are unable to read text or find links
4) Forms – Most sites include forms. Forms increase customer loyalty and are a pathway to completed conversions. So, you don’t want to let down your users at the last hurdle with poorly labelled forms, which lack instructions and an accurate layout. Fix your forms
5) Media – Gone are the days when our favourite song plays as friends visit our MySpace page. Nowadays users prefer the option to listen to music or have media play while visiting a website. For your users with screen readers turning off automatically playing media is a minefield and the best option is to avoid automatically playing media, which could irritate any user
6) Captions – If you do have media such as videos on your website, including captions will help your users with hearing difficulties. Providing that additional context to a video helps boost your conversion rates as more users understand your website and are motivated to complete a conversion
In the UK, WCAG 2.1 covers the specific accessibility features required by UK site to be deemed legal. As a company, your website should already have a few accessible features however going through them and understanding if they are legally compliant require a lot of time and patience. Accessibility testing uncovers all of these issues quickly, meaning your internal team can work on updating the website. Giving you increased access to 13 million users in the UK.