Why Web Accessibility Is Important in 2020

Whether you own a few websites, are an entrepreneur, or are wondering how you can achieve compliance with current web accessibility standards, this blog covers everything you need to know. We'll start by providing a brief overview of why accessibility is such a hot topic in the internet industry as a whole right now, and then move along to simple (yet important) ways of making your web properties more accessible to all users.

While web accessibility has been around (in at least some form or another) since the very beginning of the distributed internet, it hasn't until recently that it's gained major traction among web developers, business owners, and website operators. The importance of web accessibility, especially in a time of unprecedented internet access and usage, simply cannot be overstated.

The History of Accessibility

Right around the time the internet really started to become more mainstream (i.e. the early to mid-90s), the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C for short) was created. W3C is the organization responsible for creating and implementing various types of content and development guidelines for the internet.

W3C creates their accessibility standards via WCAG (web content accessibility guidelines). The very first version of WCAG (1.0) was released in 1999. There have been numerous additions, revisions, and updates since that time, with the current implementation being WCAG 2.0.

Simply put, WCAG defines exactly why, how, and where to implement accessibility on websites, apps, and other internet-based properties. Understanding WCAG (i.e. knowing how to audit your site for compliance) is essential in ensuring that your websites are fully accessible to internet users with disabilities and/or impairments.

Why Accessibility Matters in 2020

Apart from the obvious ethical reasons behind wanting to increase the accessibility of your website, there are also the associated legal, financial, and business matters to think of. Nearly one in five American citizens lives with some form of disability - and this population also uses the internet. That's nearly 20% of the population that might not be able to properly access your web content due to it being not up to par with current accessibility standards.

Across the world, that number obviously varies. However, the estimated number of disabled internet users (across the entire world) currently sits at around a billion. Yes, that's one billion people that potentially don't have access to your website (if you fail to implement some basic accessibility upgrades). Not only will having a more accessible website most likely lead to an increase in targeted traffic, but it also has various SEO benefits as well.

The list of reasons as to why you should make your website accessible is far too long to list in this blog, just know that it's essential for your website/business to become as accessible as possible.

Becoming (More) Accessible and Implementing WCAG

Generally speaking, there is a multitude of factors that go into a website becoming accessible. The reason for this is simple: there are many disabled internet users who have different types of impairments (or a combination of several). That's why it's very important to make sure that your website has all of its bases covered. Focusing on only a handful of accessibility guidelines is the wrong approach because there will undoubtedly be users left unable to access your site.

For example, someone who suffers from a visual impairment will have different accessibility needs than someone who has trouble using a mouse and/or laser trackpad. This is why WCAG was created in the first place, to make sure that website administrators, owners, and developers understand exactly what they need to do to make their properties more accessible.

There are several free accessibility audit tools available on the web like Userway, but they do not provide a good enough solution. There are also many firms that specialize in accessibility audits and management. However, it should be noted that the best way to ensure total compliance is by developing your website with accessibility in mind from the very beginning or using web accessibility software. It's much easier to build a new website that's already accessible than go back and edit code, apps, and plugins (which can become quite costly over time).

Achieving Accessibility Takes Effort

You shouldn't approach the issue of accessibility thinking that it will only take an audit and some code edits to become compliant. WCAG is always evolving, and in this time of ever-changing technology, the internet is constantly evolving as well.

This means that accessibility should be at the forefront of everyone's mind during any major changes, upgrades, updates, or developments. Doing so will save you a lot of headaches down the road (when you will undoubtedly need to change something in order to become compliant).


Author: Umesh12 Aug 2020 Member Level: Gold   Points : 6

This is really a very important and interesting subject that Web should be developed in such a way as to make it accessible to more and more people especially the handicapped and disabled ones. I think the advanced technologies and Artificial Intelligence can play a vital role in achieving these aspirations. Now a days I have found one room cleaning robotic gadget which is sized hardly a -1/2 ft across and is a disc like machine which is remotley controlled even by a handicapped person and is programmable to start cleaning of floors at the stipulated time and once it's battery goes low it senses the coordinates snd goes back to the dock where it generally resides. So what I mean to derive is that these can still be further modified to link to the Web so that a person sitting at some place can give the commands.

Another interesting application is speech controlled devices through Web apps. A handicapped person can be benefited by all these new generation gadgets which are being engineered keeping in view of the accessibility concerns.

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