Website accessibility is very important to your audience. Being accessible refers to the extent to which your website can be used by people of all skill levels, including those with disabilities and impairments. It can help to simplify a pathway for someone accessing support from a service, allow people to find the information they need quickly and prevent discrimination for those who may need to access or use your website differently.  

Having an accessible website is not just about complying with laws and checking those compliance boxes. It can also be central in helping you review and analyse the way people use your website, to find out whether your website is addressing their needs and to learn about the impression your users develop of your organisation through their website experience.  

The better you understand your user, the better you can anticipate their needs and place the information they are looking for right where they need it. Remember, where you think an item looks best on your website, is not necessarily where your website user would look for it. Being accessible not only improves the experience for your users but also improves your brand reputation, your audience reach, your SEO ranking and your overall popularity. 

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Benefits of having an accessible website

There are many advantages to having a website that can be accessed by everyone – most importantly it keeps your audience happy and returning to your website, ensuring you have an active audience who continues to keep interacting with your organisation.  

An accessible website can: 

  • Improve SEO ranking: Making your website more accessible can improve your technical search engine optimisation (SEO) and page ranking on search engines 
  • Increase audience reach: You can reach a larger audience by improving the usability access on your website, as people with disabilities will not be restricted by poor navigation or functionality issues. 
  • Promote a positive brand image: You can promote a positive brand image and public reputation, by demonstrating social responsibility and promoting an inclusive message for your brand and organisation 
  • Prevent discrimination: You can avoid discrimination or legal implications if you consider the inclusivity of your website features, particularly if you are legally obliged to adhere to WCAG2.1 AA standards 
  • Leave a positive impression: Everyone likes a good website experience, which facilitates their overall objective. This can make your website memorable and increases the likelihood of returning users and recommendation to others.  

Top tips 

Accessibility can often seem quite a daunting process, but there are certain things you can put in place to help you manage accessibility both from the start of your website creation or as an ongoing process which encourages best practice. We’ve added some top tips to help you stay on top of your website’s accessibility: 

If you are building a new website, make sure you include accessibility from the get-go. It can be harder to embed some accessibility principles once a website is live and it could end up costing you more in the long run. 

Make sure you are constantly reviewing your accessibility – often with the addition of new content, accessibility may be compromised or missed. By having a constant review process, you can make sure you are up to date for your website users. 

Invest in staff training. If your staff are involved in the accessibility process, they know exactly how to include it going forwards. It is far easier and less time-consuming to continue including accessibility throughout than to keep backpedalling and making changes.  

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Common questions our clients want to know about accessibility 

So now we’ve established why good website accessibility is vital for an organisation like yours, you might have more questions! Our clients often come to us with questions around how to embed accessibility for their website – so we’ve provided our most common queries and the answers below.  

Does making a website accessible negatively affect the design? 

Absolutely not. Accessible website design can actually help make your website cleaner and clutter-free, and work in a way that your user would expect. Making a website easy to use is crucial to good website design, so essentially the design should go hand in hand with the usability and accessibility.  

What is user experience and how is it linked to accessibility? 

User experience is just that – how a user experiences your website, including the journey they take, the goals they have in mind – ultimately how they use your website. By embedding good accessibility principles on your website, you are supporting a positive user experience, which means that a website user is able to complete their intended goals quickly and efficiently, providing a positive experience along the way. Positive website experiences mean that your website user is likely to continue returning time and time again, and even recommend to others, helping you to build your overall audience and reputation.  

Why should I carry out user testing? 

We recommend carrying out at least some level of user testing with your audience, to gain a better understanding of how they navigate your website as a minimum. When you know your website well, it can be difficult to take a retrospective view that is a true representation of how your audience behaves. By providing real life scenarios to your intended website user, you can start to build a picture of what their additional requirements might be, where the pain points are and what would be useful to add to make their website journey smooth and simple. 

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Got a burning question about website accessibility?  

Our team are experts in good user experience, designing for the user and making a website work for your target audience. We spend time learning about your target users, their habits and behaviours. We know that helping them to have a positive, accessible experience and taking them on a seamless journey to their desired goal is crucial in retaining their interest and to keep them returning to a website time and time again.  

We have worked with many public and third sector organisations to develop and evolve their own websites to become more accessible and user friendly, or create new, responsive websites that are centred around their audience’s behaviour and needs.  

Our team are always happy to have a chat with you to help you consider your own website needs and provide feedback on how you might be able to improve your website and deliver a more optimised experience for your audience.  

To book a chat with our team of experts or to learn more about how accessibility can be considered for your website, you can call our Head Office or email our team: 

01522 775060