3 things small business owners should know about web accessibility

Here are three vital things to know about website accessibility for your small business so that you don't alienate your customers

Since the beginning of 2018, laws on website accessibility have become prominent in the media, with businesses across the States being sued for their lack of compliance with ADA and the WCAG 2.0 internet accessibility rules. If you’re a small business owner, you should directly be looking out for ways to make your website more accessible. Not only does this mean you’ll get more business, but you’ll also be avoiding becoming one of the many lawsuits while also creating a more accessible space for everyone online.

Due to how unfriendly some websites can be for users with disabilities, it is estimated that over 1.1m disabled users each year never use the internet. By designing an accessible site, you’ll be helping to push back against these statistics and create a fairer online space for all.

In this article, we’ll be covering four central facts that you should know as a small business owner, helping your site to directly tackle user-friendly design and flourish as an accessible online space.

You’re liable to be sued if your site isn’t accessible

The American Disabilities Act Title III is a decree that states all individuals with a disability must be treated with fairness and without discrimination in a public place. For those of you that didn’t know, the internet counts as a public place. Due to this, your business website is a space in which the rulings of the ADA are well and truly in effect.

From this ruling, businesses are liable to be sued if they don’t create an online space that is completely accessible to those with disabilities. In fact, it is now becoming so common for businesses to receive lawsuits due to this rule that over 265,000 small businesses received a demand letter in 2020.

For those that had to settle in court, the average amount they had to pay was around $25,000. If you’re one of the many business owners that didn’t want to create an accessible site because it’s too difficult or too expensive, you’ve now got an incredibly good reason to start thinking about it.

This is even more, so the case in states like California, Florida and especially New York, where 50 per cent of all lawsuits of this kind take place. If your business is based in one of these states and isn’t already taking steps to ensure your site is accessible, then you may have a lawsuit coming your way sooner than you’d like it.

Overlay tools cover 70 per cent of all disabilities

Web accessibility tools have progressed to such an extent that even without changing the source code of your website, you can now. With overlay tools for your site, you’ll be able to download an accessibility tool in around two minutes, which you’ll then be able to use with ease.

A web accessibility tool will put a small disability icon in the bottom corner of your website. Once a user clicks on it, they’ll get a range of different customisation options. Here are just a few of the capabilities that a comprehensive disability tool will offer:

  • Seizure Safe
  • Vision Impaired Aid
  • ADHD Friendly
  • Cognitive Disability Aid
  • Screen Reader
  • Keyboard Navigation Aid

These tools are constructed to help a potential user that accesses your site by aiding them directly based on the disability profile they select. Instead of having a difficult time on your site, an overlay will instantly help curate a more useful page, blocking harmful elements and enhancing those that will aid users.

With just a few clicks, downloading a web accessibility overlay tool will radically change how your website accommodates those with disabilities.

Accessibility features help all of your customers

Typically, when a business owner is asked why their website is not accessible, they say it’s because their client base isn’t disabled. What this fails to take into account is that the large majority of disabilities – especially those which impede the use of the internet – are non-visible. While more extreme disabilities come to mind with this word, even something as simple as being colour blind can dramatically impact browsing online.

For example, the use of certain colours or colour schemes might hide certain buttons on your website, meaning that when a colour blind person arrives on your webpage, they’re not able to find the button to progress onto the next page. If this is on a sales page, you’re directly losing out on a sale due to your lack of accessible features.

Additionally, considering that people with disabilities make up a quarter of the population of The United States, a person browsing with a disability is far more common than many people believe. Some disabilities that business owners often fail to accommodate for are:

  • Mobility differences and inability to use the mouse
  • People who will experience seizures when triggered by flashing advertisements
  • Those with anxiety who suffer from time limits being placed upon them
  • People unable to either hear or see

When using a web accessibility tool, you’ll be able to cover all of these disabilities and more. Instead of shutting your website off from the world, you’ll be opening it out and ensuring that as many people can access your site as possible.

Final thoughts

Creating an accessible website is one of the easiest ways that you can radically shift how your company does business. While many think that simply having a website is enough, this is far from the case. Without accessibility features, you’re impeding millions of adults (both within the States and internationally) from gaining access to your website.

By downloading a web accessibility overlay, with one movement, you’ll be expanding the reach of your website dramatically. Instead of shutting people out, you’ll be directly letting them in, giving them the tools they need to navigate your site.

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