Did you know that 35% of the population cannot use your website if this website is not digitally accessible? That’s over 6 million people you might be missing out on, no matter what you’re trying to tell or sell online! It is therefore extremely important to pay the necessary attention to the digital accessibility of your website.
Benefits of an accessible website
There are many benefits to be gained from an accessible website:
- The audience that can use and understand your website will increase by 20-30%.
- Google loves you! Accessibility impacts your rank in search engines.
- The website is more user-friendly for all users.
- An easily accessible website can be used by a larger group of people.
- The website works (even) better on different devices and in various browsers.
- The website is socially responsible, which can have a positive impact on your brand.
What is digital accessibility?
What do visually impaired, (colour) blind, deaf and hard of hearing, low literate people, dyslexics, physically handicapped people, or simply people with a broken arm have in common?
Together they account for the 35% of the Dutch population who cannot read, understand or use your website properly if it is not accessible. For many companies this is already a point of attention, but it is not getting the urgency it should have. It is even a legal obligation for (semi-)government websites to meet the requirements for digital accessibility.
Some examples of shortcomings in digital accessibility are:
- Unclear buttons with no description
- Crowded or complex design
- Bright colors without contrast
- The lack of subtitles
An accessible website must also be future-proof, so it is important to pay attention to design, code and content while building it so that everyone can use the website properly. Get Interactive takes those important elements into account while building your website. Because these elements improve the user experience, Google gives a lot of value to them. In turn this will lead to a better ranking in the search results, which ultimately also influences your findability.
What does the law say regarding accessible websites?
It is important to know that from 1 July 2018 it is mandatory for (semi) government organizations to comply with the accessibility requirements on behalf of the “Tijdelijk besluit digitale toegankelijkheid overheid”. This is a temporary law that will eventually be replaced by the “Voortgang Wet Digitale Overheid”, which will apply after a vote at the earliest from July 1, 2022. This law is based on the European Accessibility Guidelines, and the requirements are identical to those of W3C (more on that later).
But what does “Digital Accessibility” actually mean? In short: making the internet accessible to everyone, including the elderly and people with disabilities. Dutch government agencies are not allowed to distinguish between persons with and without disabilities or a chronical illness.
But even if you are not a government agency, it is still of added value to make your website accessible to as many people as possible and to not exclude anyone.
Public authorities are obliged to publish an accessibility statement. This states what measures the organization is taking, including a schedule, to make and keep the website accessible.
W3C guidelines, does my website comply with them?
There are several organizations that are involved in accessibility testing. An authority in this field is the international World Wide Web Consortium, also known as W3C. Within this organization there is a special working group, the Web Accessibility Initiative, which has drawn up guidelines that an accessible website must comply with. These are the same guidelines by which government websites are measured.
The code of a WordPress website already complies with the W3C standards (considered “valid code”). But because almost every WordPress website uses plugins or themes, you still run the risk that the end result does not contain valid code. At Get Interactive we always make custom websites so that you can be sure that your website does not have any unnecessary plugins or themes.
With this handy validation tool it is possible to check whether your website complies with these guidelines. You will then see an overview of errors and points to deal with. We can of course help you with this!
Help with digital accessibility
We hope this information highlights the importance of digital accessibility. Do you want to actively work with digital accessibility, or would you like us to walk you through the opportunities? No problem, we are happy to help you! Feel free to send us a message using the form below, or give us a call.