If you have seen the movie "Pretty woman" with Julia Roberts, you will remember the scene where Julia goes shopping on Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills. She sees a nice dress in the shop window and enters the store. But the sales assistant does not like her look and tells her "I don’t think we have anything for you here." Julia goes to another store where they will help her and the next day she returns to the first store after another shopping spree, all dressed up. "Remember when I came here yesterday and you wouldn't help me? BIG mistake!" she says to the sales assistant while showing off all the shopping bags in her hands.
When you don't make your website or online events accessible, you're basically saying to your visitors with disablities: "I don’t think we have anything for you here" and close the door on them.
So consider the following: Around 20% of the world population lives with a visible or invisible disability. That is 1 out of 5! And this figure doesn’t include people with temporary or situational disabilities. It's a huge community with people who work, pay taxes, and buy goods and services, with a spending power of 490 billion USD (source: Siteimprove). Ignoring them would be, as Julia Robert’s character says, “a big mistake!”
Remember that customer loyalty is more valuable than a one-time interaction. Users who benefit from or rely on accessible environments consistently demonstrate that they will return to sites that are easy for them to use; and often become loyal brand ambassadors. Therefore thinking about assistive technology users for your website, online events and social posts might be a good idea.
Here are a few tips to make your online activities accessible for assistive technology, including screen readers, braille terminals, and screen magnification:
- Use Alt text for links and images, and make sure your heading structure is clear.
- Organize text in bulleted or numbered lists so that it’s easy to read for sighted and screen reader users.
- Offer transcripts, captions and audio descriptions with podcasts, videos and live-streaming events.
- If you share documents, make these accessible for screen readers.
And then the cherry on the cake: making your website more accessible benefits your search engine optimization (SEO) too!
As stated in our accessibility statement, CWT is working to make our online activities accessible to everyone.
Blog author: Barbara Keek, Digital Manager, Global Digital Marketing, CWT