If you are a small business with significant overhead, complying with ADA guidelines when building your web presence or hiring a web accessibility consultant might feel like government regulation gone amok. But, if the recent COVID-19 epidemic taught us anything, it is that having a reliable and compliant online presence can have a “persist or perish” effect on your business.
The businesses that had a well-designed web presence, especially an ADA-compliant web design, not only survived but thrived during the trying times during the COVID-19 pandemic; even brick-and-mortar businesses transformed themselves into online ones seamlessly. They became the go-to choice for all consumers who needed their product or services and gained a following.
A poorly designed web presence that is not ADA compliant discriminates against the very public it is intended to serve and detracts your human resources from the specific roles they are assigned to play.
During the pandemic, most teachers, sales personnel, and managers were forced to simultaneously play the role of tech support instead of excelling at being effective teachers, increasing sales, and efficiently managing the businesses they were tasked to manage.
Let’s take a look at how can an ADA-compliant website help your pocketbook?
An ADA Compliant Site is also an SEO Compliant Site:
When Google search engine is evaluating websites to include in its top-ranked search results, it looks for features such as:
- Alt tags for all images, videos, and audio files
- Text transcripts for video and audio content
- The site’s language in the header code
- Better handling of user input errors via alternatives and suggestions.
- A consistent, organized layout
The same features that section 508 requires of an ADA-compliant website. These guidelines are also in compliance with the W3C foundation’s guidelines for website development. Thus following the ADA-compliant web design, both standardize and label your web presence as one that can be trusted and is user-friendly.
Developing a Standardized Site is Far-Sighted:
The above-stated guidelines are also in compliance with the W3C foundation’s guidelines for website development. Every business, when investing in projects, aims to do things correctly the first time around. Developing ADA-compliant web design and investing in robust website architecture is a way to ensure that it continues to pay for itself in the long run.
Here are some standards of WCAG 2.1 which are synonymous or similar to W3C standards:
- Navigation, links, focus state.
- Forms, digitally signed forms.
- Images, galleries, sliders.
- Video, podcasts, audio.
- Tables and iframes.
- Maps, infographics, illustrative graphs.
- Text layout, fonts, distractions, color contrasts.
- Page structure and organization.
- PDFs, Docs, PowerPoint.
A More Accessible Website WIll Mean More Traffic
Whether you are a business or a public institution, more traffic and a low bounce rate is something that everyone seeks from their web presence. Because more traffic, and especially more traffic with lower bounce rates, means a better metric you are judged on in terms of customer satisfaction. It does not matter if those customers are buying products and services or filling out forms for driver licenses.
Developing a Website that Will Comply with Future Updates Will Save You Money
Website development platforms like WordPress are constantly updating their WordPress Core Engine to be compliant with accessibility requirements. They are adding or requiring features that need to be included in the templates developed by public developers to work on top of WordPress Core. Having a compliant template and a website compliant with WCAG will make it easy for future updates to your websites.
Having a WCAG Compliant Website Allows You to Concentrate on Content and Marketing Functions of Your Business
A company called Feast that develops WordPress plugins for foodie websites released the Feast Plugin, which actively allows its customers to build SEO and Accessibility compliant websites and advise Feast in meeting them in their upcoming templates.
According to Feast, “This allows businesses to focus on content and marketing with a theme they customized to meet accessibility guidelines.” They further explained, “Recipe sites are becoming aware that accessibility isn’t just about handicap visitors – it helps improve the user experience for all visitors. A better user experience means overall lower bounce rates, increased time on site and quicker page load times. This ultimately translates to better organic rankings and more people trying their recipes.”
With increased competition for attracting online customers, even for brick-and-mortar stores, having an ADA-compliant site will free you from the trap of constantly updating your website to meet the current standards and concentrate on content and marketing of your website to attract both more customers and more sales.
In conclusion, having an ADA-compliant website or hiring a web accessibility consultant may seem like a burden, especially from a small business perspective. Still, it is a business expense that pays several folds by providing your website with higher rankings in the search results, provides more repeated visitors to your website, saves you money on website upgrades, and allows you to focus on the core elements of your business.
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