Accessible design means a website built for all users, whether they are tech wizards or stuck on a slow wifi connection, customers still comparing brands or customers ready to buy. Accessibility also means designing a website for ADA Compliance so that the 20% of your user base who have some form of disability can still happily surf online. This is our community, but unfortunately, accessibility is one of the most overlooked aspects of a website build or marketing strategy.
While you can’t easily afford to leave out 1 in 5 of your customers (or deal with a lawsuit), designing a new website with accessibility from the start of modifying your current site’s content, code, and imagery is a large undertaking. It takes a whole team and we’ve been working on it for quite some time, especially since Google added accessibility to their Webmaster Guidelines and especially since the Section 508 refresh.
As it’s a group effort, this week we polled GLI to share our understanding of ADA Compliance and how Accessibility affects your website.
How important do you think website accessibility is for customers?
Over half of surveyed employees believe that website accessibility is absolutely vital.
While half of employees state that website accessibility is absolutely vital, all surveyed employees agree that website accessibility is important. 95% of GLI agree it’s important, very important, or absolutely vital – and as you can tell, no one thought it not important. Accessibility should be on the radar for any of your marketing campaigns.
What degree of accessibility do you think a website should worry about?
Nearly 60% of surveyed employees state that a website should be A, AA and AAA accessible.
All Go Local employees believe that some degree of accessibility should be considered for a company’s website. A items are the most fundamental, AA serious, and AAA the ones most difficult to reach. The Section 508 refresh stipulates that websites under the ruling (those that sell to or receive funds from the federal government) must be A and AA compliant by January 2018. Likewise, we focus on getting your website A and AA compliant under WCAG 2.0 Guidelines as the top priority, and then work through AAA.
What companies should think about accessibility?
Over 91% of surveyed employees believe all companies should think about website accessibility.
Every employee that we surveyed thinks that at the very least every company that falls under Section 508 should strategize for accessibility. While this is the law – and a minimum – almost all of our employees believe that every company should think about website accessibility. You absolutely have users that want to be customers, but can’t use your website and convert – yet.
How important do you think website accessibility is for marketers?
Almost 44% of surveyed employees think website accessibility is absolutely vital for marketers.
All employees believe it is at least somewhat important. The variation in degrees of importance is likely due to the product we work in – ADA compliance is a huge project for web developers, content development, and SEO Specialists, but for programs like social media, you’re working with the compliance of the platform we use rather than designing it from scratch. No matter what we do as marketers, though, all of GLI believes we must be inclusive in the work we do.
Should a company consider a marketing agency that doesn’t offer accessibility?
Nearly 61% of surveyed employees believe that ADA compliance is a must when a company is considering a marketing agency.
When considering a marketing agency, more than half of GLI thinks accessibility expertise is a must while other employees believe that it depends on the agency’s other offerings and the company’s needs. Unfortunately, it’s not a given that an agency will be aware of and meet these expectations, so companies do need to carefully evaluate their options.
How do you think accessibility will affect the marketing future?
At GLI we don’t just consider what’s hot in marketing now – we take a long look into upcoming trends so that you’re prepared for the next big things. So we asked our employees what they thought the future of accessibility looks like, and here are our top five answers:
- “Accessibility will not even be a question – it will soon be the standard.”
- “I think it’s affecting marketing now. As marketing is moving so strongly in the digital sphere, we need to ensure websites are compliant for ALL users. If they’re not, you’re missing out on a huge group of consumers who will seek services elsewhere.”
- “I think it will increase the likelihood of companies needing assistance with websites, SEO, marketing, and more.”
- “I think accessibility and marketing will fluctuate on a few things. Without regulations in place to force accessibility standards on marketing practices, companies will be left to weigh the cost benefit of making changes. History has shown that when left in the hands of the individual corporation accessibility isn’t seen as a high enough need to motivate changes unless your market specifically dictates that need. However, as more regulations are put in place to mandate this need, or as search engines put a higher focus on accessibility when determining how well a site ranks in searches, the importance of accessibility standards will grow to meet these regulations.”
- “Accessibility will continue to become a bigger moral and legal issue, which marketers will need to address beyond their website, across all their marketing channels”
Is your website accessible? Try out these free tools to take a quick scan:
- Accessibility Checker
- WAVE – Web Accessibility Versatile Evaluator
- Accessibility Developer Tools – Chrome Plugin
You can also contact us for an accessibility test or conversation about ADA Compliance.