The growing importance of accessible websites

by Gary on May 23, 2007 · 4 comments

in Accessibility

Do you think you don’t need to create accessible websites simply because you don’t cater to “that” kind of audience? Well, you definitely need a reality check. I’m not going to present statistics on how many physically challenged people access the Internet because again, some among you would say, “We don’t target ‘that’ kind of audience.” I’ll just list some reasons why it is important to have accessible websites and how not having an accessible website can harm your business.

The search engines prefer the accessible websites over the inaccessible websites

There is a logical reason behind this. The search engine crawlers read your web page just as a browser for the visually impaired would read it. The more accessible website you create, the fewer barriers the search engine crawlers face while indexing and ranking your website. Since you are supposed to use the right tags at the right places in order to create an accessible website, the search engines exactly know where to find what.

Accessible websites are accessible to a wide range of devices

Computers and laptops are not the only devices people use these days to access various websites. There are many hand held devices and display mediums that are used to surf the Web. If you are creating websites merely for computers and laptops, then you are missing a big chunk of users that are using devices such as mobile phones, personal digital assistants and in-car browsers to access the Internet.

Accessible websites are accessible to people using old software and slower Internet connections

The broadband penetration has increased but not uniformly. There are still millions of people using the dial-up connections on their Windows 98 machines. And they are not poor — they use the old technologies just because they don’t feel like upgrading. By creating highly inaccessible websites you are excluding a market range that can do millions of dollars of business with me. So whenever you garnish your web pages with the latest bells and whistles, just make sure your website functions on older technologies too.

An accessible website strengthens your brand

Whether you realize it or not, an average user, whether she is physically challenged or not, appreciates the fact that you are in sync with the times and not an old fashioned organization. Not having an accessible website is an old-fashioned attitude. In accessible website means more than your users, you care about how your website looks. What’s the use of having a snazzy website if a big part of the population cannot access it?

It is not mandatory that you should have an accessible website, and a recent survey predicted that 98% of the most important websites the world over don’t provide even minimum levels of accessibility. So it’s up to you whether you want to have an accessible website or not. The decision has to come from within you.

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  • MN Web Design

    Very interesting, I recently read something about this same topic somewhere else and it really makes a lot of sense. Obviously the more people that you can safely navigate to your site, the better. Good thing that people, like you, are spreading the word. Thanks!!

  • Cornwall SEO

    It’s amazing how few websites actually follow accessability rules. Time and time again I see web designers churning out pages that are just awful in regards to accessability.

    And the thing is, an accessable page is mostly optimised.

    Mind you, it keeps me in work, lol.

  • The Bespeckled SEO

    While I am often times guilty of not always conforming 100% to the Accessibility Standards, I thank you for this reminder.

  • Jane

    I strongly agree to the point, ‘What’s the use of having a snazzy website if a big part of the population cannot access it?’.

    Everytime I surf the net, I often choose websites with user-friendly features. I get disturbed with over-use of flash and other unnecessary effects.