Why should my website be accessible?
Legal implications of accessibility compliance
It is currently not legally a requirement to make your website accessible, but that is going to change over the next few years with changes to EU law which will affect the use of websites in Ireland.
If you build premises for your business you must make provision to allow disabled users to access those premises and the products and services you provide equally – ramps and wider doors to name just two.
If you build a website it is currently not a requirement but it will become an obligation to enable access to your website for those with additional needs. This can include reducing flashing images for those with epilepsy, reducing distraction for those with conditions like ADHD and ensuring that users with impaired sight can utilise a screen reader to effectively use your site.
In addition, accessibility is a factor in performance on search engines and is likely to be given an increased score on that front over the next few years.
If you felt that you were excluding a sector of your target audience from being able to read your marketing message, that would seem to be a poor choice from a business point of view. And yet that is exactly what lack of accessibility on a website is doing.
Accessible means Inclusivity
All that said, it is also one of those common-sense things to consider doing. A percentage of the population needs some accommodation when using technology and by enabling these tools on your website you are ensuring that your business is inclusive.
How do I achieve accessibility?
This can be a daunting prospect as making the pages on your site usable for people with a range of needs from impaired sight to epilepsy sounds like a “where do you start?” scenario, right?
As always, review your current state of play
We recently ran an audit on accessibility for our website to determine our own compliance. We used the (free!) Ace tool by AccessiBe and discovered just how much work is involved in enabling accessibility as, like with most other web-related things, it’s a jigsaw with many tiny pieces.
Keep the solution simple
The plugin from AccessiBe, though, resolved all of those tiny pieces. We just had to install and activate. We were very surprised at exactly how easy it was to achieve compliance.
Make sure to stay accessible once you achieve compliance!
In addition, the plugin rescans our website every 24 hours to ensure that it remains compliant on an ongoing basis without any input or effort from us.
We are now proudly 100% compliant, with an accessibility button allowing users to view our site in the most usable format for them. They can select a preset for a particular condition or customise the setup to their own specific needs, quickly and easily.
To see how the accessibility tool works from a user experience point of view we’ve recorded a short video:
AccessiBe have also provided an official 3 minute demo:
Because we found the AccessiBe plugin to be so simple and so effective we are partnering with them to offer this functionality as an additional Coppertops service.
What are you waiting for?
The law is changing, public sector websites already need to be compliant, by law, and the regulations for private business is trucking along behind it.
Get this one ticked off before it becomes an urgent/overdue task. This really is a simple setup and one of those rare things online that just works so when it’s done you can leave it alone!
If you are interested in getting ahead of the requirements on making sure your website stays compliant with upcoming accessibility regulations, get in touch to find out more.