Accessibility is a must for the modern internet. More people than ever have access, many of whom may have impaired hearing or vision and many who are accessing websites on mobile devices. Each of these and plenty of other situations require different accessibilities.
Here are some ways you can make your business more accessible online:
1. Streamline User Access
Whether someone is disabled, sleep-deprived or accessing your website from a mobile device, streamlining your website is incredibly vital to user access and navigation. If you make sure your website design is clean, simple and logical and include descriptive text for links and images, users accessing your site via assistive technology such as screen readers will have an easier time navigating your site. You can also include multiple ways for people to explore your website, including arrows, a search bar and breadcrumbs. These make it more likely a user will be able to find exactly what they're looking for on your site.
2. Implement Universal Design
Universal design is a way to build and design a website so it will look attractive and be easy to navigate no matter the device someone accesses it on. Desktop-first web design can look clunky and cluttered on a mobile device, and it can load more slowly. On the other hand, mobile-first design can have excessive white space when viewed on a desktop. In addition, neither of these options really allows for access when your vision or hearing are impaired. Universal design includes functionality that allows the website to detect what device it's being opened on and adapting to fit that screen, as well as functionality that allows someone with a disability to access it. For example, if your business is property maintenance, guests of all kinds may access your website. These users could be tenants, people looking for homes to rent or buy or the staff at your properties and they could be accessing your site from any number of different devices. In a case like this, when your website may be accessed by anyone, universal design is a must.
3. Enhance Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
Improving your SEO will not only help users find what they're looking for more easily but will also help your website rank higher when relevant keywords are searched. You can enhance your SEO ranking by ensuring your website is easy to navigate. You can also improve SEO in conjunction with other accessibility improvements. For example, if you implement closed captions on videos and introduce descriptive text alongside non-text content such as images and buttons, you have more opportunities to include relevant keywords as well as making the website more accessible to people with disabilities.
4. Conduct Usability Studies
To truly make your website accessible to as many users as possible, you can try conducting usability studies. In a usability study, you find users to test your website and ask them to evaluate their experience. Usability tests provide you with data on how real people interact with your website and gives you an idea of how your site is meeting their needs and wishes. Ideally, you want to test with as diverse a group as possible so you can see how your site caters to people with disabilities as diverse as hearing impairment and colorblindness.
5. Introduce Round-the-clock Customer Support
There are things you can do outside of web design to improve accessibility, too. For instance, you can introduce more robust customer support options. Try having one or more employees on call even during off times, such as the late evening and early morning, or introduce round-the-clock customer support. This ensures that no matter where in the world or what time someone is accessing your website, he or she will have support available should it be needed. You can also introduce various ways to reach customer support, including a phone number, online chat and chatbots.
Accessibility can ensure that your site is able to reach as many people as easily as possible, which can give your business a great reputation and increase customer traffic online.