Why care about accessible websites and apps?
As to not exclude anyone
Anyone can find and read information on an accessible website. This grants equal opportunities to anyone surfing the web, and helps to narrow the digital divide. Accessibility is indispensable to many visitors, and useful to all. These videos will show you why accessibility matters and to whom.
Individuals with a physical disability are not the only ones who benefit from accessible websites. It will work easier and faster for many abled people alike.
Because of technical reasons
Accessibility guidelines largely boil down to complying with web standards. This has several advantages.
- Saving time: the maintenance, renewal, or transference of a website takes less time when said website is accessible. This is thanks to keeping a strict seperation between layout (CSS) and content (HTML).
- Compatibility: websites will work on multiple operating systems, browsers, and devices as they all follow the same standards.
- Speed and server load: the code is written in a clear and compact way. Pages will load faster, and the server load will be lighter.
Because of financial reasons
Visitors will be more likely to use your commercial website when there are no obstacles in the way of their purchase. You can save money by allowing your users to be more independent. They will be less likely to contact your helpdesk, customer service, or desk staff. Your expenses for maintenance of the website will also be lower.
More people will find and use your website when you improve its accessibility. This is because many of the techniques used to make a website accessible will also improve your search engine optimisation. SEO leads to an increase in visitors and increases your market share.
Search engine optimisation techniques also improve accessibility:
- Hierarchically structured headings (and other semantic information) help give structure to screen readers. Keywords used in these tags are also picked up by search engines.
- The keywords used in page titles gain extra relevance. Make them meaningful.
- Link texts must communicate a clear goal to the user. These link texts also function as keywords and are important for your search engine indexing.
- Adding alt texts to images will help blind users understand the meaning of your visuals. Search engines are oblivious to your images too.
- Deaf and hard of hearing individuals need text transcripts and subtitles in order to understand your video's. In a way, search engines are deaf too.
- Images of texts can't be indexed by search engines nor read by screen readers.
- A valid source code will help both search engines and disability aids with interpreting your web page correctly.
- Language tags will improve your compatibility with both screen readers and search engines.
- When CSS is used only for layout reasons and not implying information (e.g. background images, use of colour,...), none of this information will be lost to search engines or blind individuals.
To comply with the law
The Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities by the United Nations states that individuals with a disability have equal rights as everyone else. This convention includes the right to access information through the internet. When no or insufficient measurements have been take to give disabled individuals the same access to information and services as others, this is defined as discrimination.
Belgium ratified this UN convention in July 2009.
As of the 23th of September 2018, the European directive on the accessibility of the websites and mobile applications of public sector bodies has been converted into Belgian law. summary of this European directive.
In 2025 also commercial websites will have to be accessible thanks to the european Accessibility Act.
The W3C discusses several business cases in detail on their page Developing a Web Accessibility Business Case for Your Organization.