The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) of 1990 mandates that websites be accessible for all users, including those with disabilities. Title III of the ADA states that “places of public accommodation” must remove barriers that would prevent a disabled individual from being able to access the goods or services offered by the business.
That’s why ADA website compliance is not only required by law, it also makes good business sense.
By taking the steps to make it easy for people with disabilities to navigate your website, you can crank up your lead quality and boost those precious conversions. Here’s why and how.
ADA Compliance Boosts the Size of Your Audience
The United States Census Bureau reports that more than 50 million people in the U.S. have a disability, while the American Institute of Research reports that they possess an estimated $490 billion in discretionary funds. If your site isn’t optimized to accommodate this population, they are far less likely to use your website to learn about or purchase your products or services.
From a business standpoint, let alone an ethical one, it makes little sense to exclude such a large segment of your potential audience. People with disabilities who find your website difficult to navigate are likely going to ditch yours for a competitor whose site is compliant and effortless – nobody wants to lose business in that way.
You can improve your site’s accessibility by focusing on alternative image text and meta tagging, among other ADA website compliance measures.
Improve Your SEO
By utilizing the WCAG 2.0 guidelines (Web Content Accessibility Guidelines) your site will be well-equipped for access and, as a bonus, will be easily accessible to search engines as well. This can improve your SEO by making it easier for search engines to find and categorize content on your site.
With so many businesses now relying on the internet to drive leads and conversions/sales, boosting your company’s search engine ranking position (SERP) plays an important part in optimizing your marketing efforts. In addition to helping ensure that all the relevant features on your site are accurately categorized by search engine bots, it can also help your website earn high marks for accessibility.
This close linkage between website accessibility and SEO rankings makes following the WCAG 2.0 guidelines a smart move on multiple levels. Essentially, search engine bots could be thought to function like a user with disabilities in the sense that they don’t view the pictures or videos on your website as a typical user would, instead relying on variety of elements such as:
- Alt text
- Video transcription
- Image alt attributes
- Title tags
- Header tags (H1, H2, etc.)
- Link anchor text
- On-site sitemaps, table of contents, and/or breadcrumbs
- Content ordering
- Size and color contrast of text
- Semantic HTML
The common theme here is that these features revolve around providing organized and rich context to what a link, image, section, etc. is going to provide or talk about both to a screen reader and a search engine. In addition to helping increase website accessibility, they are in accordance with principles of “universal design” that make for a good UX for all. Some of these elements, like text size and color contrast, are especially important due to search engines having made a conscious decision to reward accessibility itself in rankings.
Increase Lead Quality
Americans with disabilities understand how difficult it can be to handle the daily necessities of everyday life, whether in the physical world or online. As a result, they are likely to be highly appreciative of and loyal to those businesses which make a point of making their lives easier. By optimizing your website for navigation by those with disabilities, you can earn that brand loyalty and help increase the quality of your leads.
A byproduct of increased consumer loyalty and a sterling business reputation can be an increase in conversions. As visitors to your website translate their approval of your site’s easy accessibility and your business’s social consciousness, you may just discover they’re purchasing your products or services to boot.
This can happen in two ways.
First, by making your site easier to navigate and search, you reduce the risk that differently abled users will get frustrated and leave your site prior to reaching a purchase page.
Second, if your site is clearly designed for your visitors’ convenience and ease of use, not only will they make initial purchases, but they are vastly more likely to become return patrons.
Think about it: last time you used a phone or PC to order something online, you avoided those clunky ordering websites without a second thought. Who wouldn’t?
Burnish Your Business’s Image
Public relations play a big part in modern business.
By emphasizing ADA website compliance and making your website accessible to those with disabilities, you’re telling the world that your company takes its social responsibilities seriously!
A compliant website also acts as an indirect form of marketing. Consumers who discover your company’s accessibility efforts are more likely to purchase your goods and services as a result.
Additionally, users with disabilities who are left in the breeze by unusable websites will be delighted when they find your compliant, useful site. This can spur favorable comments on social media and recommendations to friends and colleagues, improving your business image and generating more leads.
Start Your Website Compliance Check
Not sure if your website’s compliant with ADA? User1st takes the first step towards compliance for you by analyzing your website to identify accessibility issues. Find out how accessible your website is today.