If you’re invested in SEO, you’ve likely considered the many different avenues you can explore to boost your website. But if your site isn’t accessible, your efforts will largely be in vain, and you’ll be holding back a billion people from experiencing your work.
Web accessibility refers to the notion of building websites with every user group in mind – particularly those with disabilities.
People with disabilities make up a significant portion of the population, yet little is done to cater for them online. Barriers are still very much in place for how they experience the web.
It makes no sense to overlook such a significant demographic, yet building platforms with web accessibility in mind is still seen as a tedious exercise by some.
Ensuring your website is accessible to all is a surefire way of building lasting relationships and improving the all-round user experience. An accessible outlook will also help tick some of the SEO boxes set by Google.
A good rule of thumb for accessibility is making sure that all of the information hosted on your website is delivered to the user in more than one way.
For example, you shouldn’t rely on the user’s ability to see colour when distinguishing important parts of a form, or the ability to use a mouse as a navigational tool.
Images, audio and video should all be accompanied by alt-text descriptions, closed captions and transcripts. This ensures that content is accessible to all, and also provides additional information to search engines, which rely on text to discover details about a site.
The overlapping benefits between web accessibility, SEO and a strong UX are apparent in a number of different areas.
Providing an up-to-date sitemap, for instance, provides a handy reference point for all, but particularly those using a screen reader. It also allows search robots to quickly crawl a website.
Not everything that makes a site accessible will align directly with search engine optimisation, and many of the smaller details will require time, effort and a fresh way of thinking, but it is undoubtedly a worthwhile exercise – for the sake of your users, if nothing else.
All of the websites we design and build here at Connect are built with accessibility in mind. Our work on the award-winning SENDirect project provides a great example of our accessible approach.
All in all, adaptations to make your site accessible are worth making, not only to help you stay ahead of the curve, but because you owe it to your users.