Having a disability places you in the world’s largest minority group. Currently, 61 million adults in the United States live with a disability. Of these, roughly 19.9 million of them have a hard time lifting or grasping, which may make it difficult to interact with a mouse, a keyboard and especially with a mobile phone.
Another 8.1 million suffer from some type of vision impairment – meaning that they likely have to use some type of screen magnifier or reader software to browse the Internet. 7.6 million have a hearing issue, therefore may rely more heavily than others on transcriptions or captions when they consume audio and video-based media.
Naturally, you want as many people as possible to be able to interact with your organization’s website, products and services – which is the core of what web accessibility is all about. You want to create the best experience possible for everyone, which is why compliance with the Americans with Disabilities (ADA) Act is so important. In no uncertain terms, embracing web accessibility is also just the right thing to do.
While we believe this to very much be true, there are also additional layers of benefit that come along with web accessibility.
You’ll Improve Your SEO
When you make sure that your website complies with ADA standards, you instantly make it more usable to all visitors. This has the added benefit of making it more likely to be found by the “spiders” and other bots that crawl the web on behalf of search engines.
A lot of people don’t realize that the larger goals of web accessibility and SEO overlap in a number of interesting ways. A more accessible website that is easier to use will improve your bounce rate, for example, which is something that search engines such as Google in particular pay close attention to. Google and other types of search engines also operate primarily via text, which means that if your website has a lot of video and audio content, they can have a hard time crawling that information.
But if you provide closed captions and transcripts with those videos, you are not only helping people with disabilities access this content, but you are providing additional text that can be crawled and indexed by Google at the exact same time.
Your Audience Will Expand
The more you empower your website by way of an ADA-compliant design, the higher your site will ultimately rank, which means that you’ll be able to reach a far wider audience than you otherwise would have had access to.
When users are more easily able to find your website and they recognize that it is built with website accessibility in mind, their impression of your brand will come out all the better for it.
But those ADA guidelines will benefit more than just users with disabilities, to be clear. For example, not everyone can watch a video at full volume on their mobile phone. Sometimes they want to be able to enjoy a video on their lunch break at work or while they’re on the train for their morning commute, and that means watching with the volume turned down. Closed captions and transcripts make sure that they too can consume this content – thus, these accessible video features provide a more immediate impact than you probably realized.
The Power of Positive PR
Last but not least you have the public relations benefit you’ll get from embracing website accessibility which is something that cannot be overstated in the modern era. Another recent study revealed that 62% of consumers say that they prefer to make purchases from a business that shows they can take a stand on the issues that matter the most. What could be more important than accessibility?
Not only are you once again creating a better experience for as many people as possible, but it’s one that also helps boost your brand’s image and inspires loyalty.
If you’d like to find out more information about the unexpected benefits of web accessibility, the team at eSSENTIAL Accessibility is here to help. Take the first step towards digital accessibility and download our complimentary Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) Checklist to learn how ADA-compliant your website is today.