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We’re happy to announce the launch of Innate’s new Website Accessibility Services! Let us help you manage the process of updating your website to follow the Americans with Disabilities Act Title III, Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act, and the industry standard WCAG 2.0 guidelines.
As a long-time player in the website design game, we know that user experience is (and always has been) a key component of our digital strategy for clients. But, times change and so do rules. Now, an increasingly important part of that user experience lies in the accessibility of your website.
The question you need to be asking yourself now is, “Can everyone access the content with ease?”
You may have optimized your site to make it accessible to screen readers (tools that blind users can employ to “read” site content), but what about your colorblind brother – can he see your promo code? Or your aunt who gets seizures – is your animation making her ill? Can your hearing-impaired grandfather understand what your video is trying to get across? When you realize the number of people who are affected by problems as common as colorblindness, and how that affects their experience with the internet, the entire accessibility game changes.
We’ve seen many big names (ahem, Target, H&R Block, Disney, Travelocity, the list goes on…) face steep financial penalties because their websites weren’t accessible to all users. Not only did they get penalties, but they were required to fix their websites to make them accessible on the government’s deadline—not their own. Unsurprisingly, this is an extra costly endeavor, especially once the site has already been developed.
So why is website accessibility so important for your business? What happens if you do or don’t become compliant? Here’s a quick run-down:
|Legal & financial penalties||Greater reach|
|Expedited timelines||SEO Boost|
|Lost business||Positive PR|
The truth of the matter is that you should strive to make your site fully accessible and structurally optimized, not just to prevent lawsuits or to boost your search engine rankings, but because it’s simply good business to allow all users – regardless of ability – to utilize your site.
Think your customers don’t fall under this category? Think again. Your homework this week is to sit next to someone with a screen reader or someone who has to change the style sheet to see a website’s content. You’ll quickly understand why fixing your site now is incredibly important. Try a “straw test” and try to complete a form or view your site through a straw or a tiny space in your hand and report back.
Whether you’re thinking about redesigning your website or in the process of a redesign now, or even if you just launched a new site, please contact us and we will work with you to get your site open and fully accessible to all users.
Lisa is Innate's Client Marketing Director. She is a loyal William & Mary grad (BBA & MBA) who enjoys everything marketing & entrepreneurship, and (in her free time) running outside, designing jewelry, reading historical fiction novels, and binge watching "The West Wing" with a good glass of Cabernet.