Around the world, more than 285 million people are estimated to be visually impaired, while 360 million experience hearing loss. This means that 1 in 10 people need some accommodation in the way they interact with content on the web. If you fail to think about these potential visitors, chances are you are alienating a part of your audience.
Many organizations understand the importance of accessibility, but knowing where to begin can be a trickier question. That’s why we created the Web Accessibility Playbook, a cheat sheet for maximizing the accessibility of your website. Both content editors and developers will walk away with actionable strategies and best practices.
The Benefits of Prioritizing Accessibility
The Web Accessibility Playbook reveals practical, minimal-lift strategies for improving the accessibility of your website. Making simple changes can help you reap major benefits, including boosting SEO, usability, and cost-effectiveness.
Search Engine Optimization
Because they often use a keyboard or screen reader to navigate, accessible users tend to interact with websites algorithmically, moving through headings, text, and images in a methodological fashion. This means that accessibility best practices are generally SEO best practices; maximizing accessibility also makes your site more discoverable by search engines.
Design and Usability
One of the biggest myths about accessibility is that it greatly reduces design options. To some extent, this is true: accessibility does limit design — but only insofar as it eliminates bad design options. Similar to SEO, accessible design is also usable design. It encourages high color contrast, the use of alt text and captioning, and careful theme selection. All users benefit from these design choices.
Many of the strategies we’ll cover in the Web Accessibility Playbook are incremental and (in most cases) completely free! If you’re worried about accessibility breaking your budget, remember that creating an accessible website is like taking steps towards a destination you’ll never officially reach. The journey is never over — but at any given moment, accessibility can be improved with better methodology. Think of it not as a one-time fee, but as a continual investment in your site’s SEO, usability, and overall quality. Talk about a great ROI!
What Are You Waiting For?
Accessibility is practical, compassionate, and cost effective. Whether you do it for your users, your lawyer, your site’s usability and SEO, or simply because it’s the right thing to do, the time to start is now. Prioritizing accessibility from the beginning can save your team a lot of effort; it’s easier to build accessibly then it is to retrofit for accessibility.
In addition, we highly recommend watching David Spira’s and Catharine McNally’s DrupalCon talk, Easy Accessibility in Drupal 8. Not only do they offer an impassioned defense of accessibility, they provide many more practical strategies for improving and maintaining it.