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Posted On 10 Aug 2022
Marama Carmichael

By definition, digital accessibility refers to the practice of making your website easy to navigate for people with diverse disabilities. This includes people with visual impairment, physical disabilities, auditory loss, temporary disabilities and reduced cognitive function. In AUS, the AIHW reports that 4.4 million adults live with such disabilities.

As a business, designing your website to allow easy navigation regardless of users’ abilities is essential in creating a universal digital experience. It can also boost your brand’s reputation and protect you against accessibility lawsuits.

Why is Digital Accessibility Important?

According to a study published by the DCA, the combined disposable income for working-age Australians with disabilities comes to almost $54 million. With such numbers, it is clear that Australians living with disabilities represent a considerable market prospect for organisations that cater to their unique needs.

A well-designed, accessible website is key to capturing this market opportunity and improving customer loyalty. Besides increased revenue, digital accessibility is crucial in safeguarding your business from any potential negative feedback, following the Diversity Council Australia’s suggestions. Therefore, creating accessible websites is essential for ethical reasons, positioning your brand as a proponent of digital inclusivity and extending your market reach into a relatively untapped segment.

Types of Disability-Related Barriers to Digital Accessibility

The various disabilities that impact how people interact with a website include:

  • Auditory: Hearing loss from moderate to complete deafness in both ears
  • Cognitive, learning, and neurological: Memory loss, difficulties concentrating or retaining information, dyslexia, autism, and others affecting people’s ability to hear, see, move, comprehend information, and speak.
  • Physical disabilities: These include missing limbs, muscular dystrophy, arthritis, involuntary tremors and spasms, and repetitive stress injuries that cause physical dexterity that interferes with website use.
  • Visual: Blindness, colour blindness, low vision, and deaf-blindness
  • Speech: Speech difficulties such as stuttering, aphasia, and mutism make it hard to navigate websites requiring voice interaction.

How To Design for Digital Accessibility

There are various standards, guidelines, and best practices for creating an accessible website. The typically used guidelines are the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) created by the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C). The WCAG has three levels of success criteria: A, AA, and AAA, with level A being the minimum required to pass as an accessible website.

There are various ways to make your site more accessible. These are;

  • Use clear and concise language to minimise confusion
  • Optimise your website for easy navigation using headings, lists, and links
  • Include alternative text for images on your site to help those with visual impairments
  • Use colour contrast effectively to ensure that text is visible against the background.
  • Design for flexibility and compatibility across devices and browsers
  • Ensure people can use your website without a mouse or keyboard
  • Use captions and transcripts for videos and audio content.

Benefits of Digital Accessibility

There are many benefits of having digital accessibility on your website. Some of these benefits include;

  • Increased reach to new markets
  • Compliance with legal requirements
  • Improved SEO
  • Greater customer loyalty and satisfaction
  • Reduced risks of lawsuits
  • Protected brand reputation
  • Positive brand image
  • Increased organic site traffic

Get Web Design Help for Digital Accessibility

Oracle Tree is a web design and development agency that specialises in creating digitally accessible websites. Our team of experts will work with you to understand your unique needs and develop a custom solution for your business. Contact us today to learn more about our services.

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