“Unable to display webpage.”
“Poor network connection, try again later.”
Do these statements sound familiar? Do they conjure up feelings of anger and frustration? The kind of frustration that could compel someone to throw their computer across a room? Trust us, we’ve been there. We know there are few things more frustrating than being unable to access a website in order to complete an assignment, shop online, or check Facebook.
Now imagine you have a visual impairment and require the help of an assistive device to use a computer—you now encounter an additional layer of frustration, as many websites are currently inaccessible for people with disabilities.
People with disabilities understand the need for an accessible website because it is a part of their reality, but here are a few reasons why you should value it as well:
Everyone deserves to be treated equally… and not just because your Mother says so.
If at this point, you’re asking yourself whether or not your website is accessible, chances are—it’s not. Unless you specifically asked your web developer to add accessibility features on the back-end of your site, they most likely didn’t.
In our years of advocating for people with disabilities, we have never encountered a business that intentionally discriminates against people with disabilities. We have, however, seen many businesses forget to make their websites accessible. We understand that it takes additional effort to make your business inclusive, but we hope you will recognize the harmful impact of your negligence. When you fail to make your business accessible, you might as well put a sign on your window that reads, “We do not serve people with disabilities.”
People with disabilities shop, too!
If your response to the point above was, “Well, my business does not need to be accessible because I do not have any customers with disabilities,” then you’ve identified your problem—you don’t serve any customers with disabilities because you aren’t accessible! The disability community talks, and once they’ve identified a business that values accessibility, they will tell one another, they will show up in large numbers, and your business will benefit!
Help is available.
There are many aspects to making a website truly accessible to all people. For example, media images should include an “alt-text.” This provides a description of the picture, and will make it easy for those who use screen readers to understand the content of your website. Use of fonts, colors, and types of navigation also play a role in who is able to use your site.
It is important to make sure your website is made accessible correctly. If you attempt to add accessibility features, and fail, you could end up with an even less accessible website than you had before. Contact Suasion at 717-432-2468 if you want more information on website accessibility, or if you’re considering converting your site and would like to consult our web experts.
It’s the future.
The disability community, along with advocates such as ourselves, are not backing down in the fight for inclusion. Businesses all over the world are being encouraged to adopt accessibility (check out these Changing Roomspopping up in the UK). We hope these suggestions will help you recognize the importance of developing an accessible website.
People with disabilities are diverse, exciting, and interesting. Trust us—you want their business.