The digital accessibility guidelines were constructed and set in motion during the late 2000's, moving sites away from the flashing images and spiralling motions that took over the previous 90's style websites.
As we move forward digitally, users are often bombarded by different functionalities and 'trends' that take over their screens. From flash sales that only last 10 minutes to new colour advertisement movements, the WCAG (web content accessibility guidelines) are being reinforced by government bodies, ensuring any and everyone can use the web without being restricted due to their personal requirements. Read our website testing 2020 guide.
Accessibility In Action
Even though the WCAG guidelines are a legal requirement businesses (especially within the e-commerce sector) often find these 'rules' difficult or even annoying to implement when trying to grab users attention. Changes surrounding colour contrast can result in marketeers having to change their entire advertisement colour scheme due to the contrast level being too low, and therefore outside of the WCAG guidelines.
A good example of this in action is the colloquially named 'Millennial Pink', which became increasingly more popular during 2019. As audiences started searching for items that were 'millennial pink' e-commerce businesses wanted to utilise this trend by implementing it into their online advertisement campaigns.
Advertisements following this colour trend this began popping up all over the internet:
As pretty or eye-catching as this colour trend was, it simply wasn't accessible. How can we tell that it wasn't accessible? Simple use the WCAG colour contrast guidelines. According to these guidelines, contrast levels must be at least 4.5:1 for normal-sized text and 3:1 for large-sized text (18px+). But in this example, the contrast levels are way below the required level.
For your users, this means that many wouldn't be able to see or would have difficulty seeing this advertisement. This can lead to missed CTA's, users turning away from your site or even a court case.
The Business Case for Accessibility
But what does this all mean for businesses? Does accessibility really have that big of an impact on a site? Businesses owners or marketers may know of the 'purple-pound' or in explanatory terms the total amount of money spent by people with disabilities, which reached an outstanding £249 billion in the UK alone.
But where's all this money coming from?
1 in 5 UK consumers identify as having a disability. And as our world quickly becomes more and more 'digital' with every part of our lives now being hosted on the internet, from fitness to finance, the 1 in 5 people that require additional help are feeling the accessibility pinch. Recent stats revealed that the lack of digital accessibility loses companies £2 billion a month, as 73% of potential disabled customers experience conversion barriers on websites.
This digital trend has lead to a new phenomenon labelled The Click-Away Pound.
The Click-Away Pound
A recent survey outlined in plain terms the commercial impact of accessibility on the digital world:
71% of shoppers with disabilities will click away from your website if it is too difficult to use.
The majority (82%) of these consumers will pay more money for the same item on a competitor’s website if that site is more accessible.
These “click-away” customers accounted for around 10% of UK online shopping revenue in 2016—roughly £75 billion in the UK alone.
Companies with inaccessible websites are theoretically waving goodbye to their accessible audience, consequently losing them users, conversions and revenue.
Interview with an Accessibility Expert
Watch our 10-minute video outlining the free-accessibility checkers available online, as we also discuss the 5 different WCAG categories, as well as how accessibility testing saves your team time and, more importantly, money.
Click on the video to find out more (headphones recommended)
As the state of the UK high street dwindles and users spend more of their lives online, ensuring your website is accessible to as many potential users as possible could be the structural pillar that saves brands which are facing closure or even be a huge revenue boost for those that simply want to grow in the digital world.