Ten Reasons Accessibility Matters to the Success of Your Accessible Digital Roadmap

Jessi Sparks

VP of Strategy

I have been working in ADA compliance in digital for over 11 years and, in that time, I have seen many good reasons to make accessibility a priority in your digital properties for your overall Accessible Digital Roadmap.

Aside from just being the right thing to do, accessibility investments in your digital work will provide you with a major win from a risk assessment foundation and an opportunity for better SEO and mobile speed optimization. While we (Magnetic Mobile) are continually working towards our own site accessibility compliance, we have also worked with many organizations to help them better their compliance and support of this important need.

People always ask me, aside from being the right thing to do, why should I invest in accessibility tools in my digital properties for my Accessible Digital Roadmap?

1. First and Foremost, Good ADA is Good SEO.

Did you know that the same tools that read for SEO are also similar to the same tools used to assist certain people with a disability? The same tech that processes your website’s source code to give Google its signals is similar in nature to assistive tools that are used by the blind. The tools literally read the behind-the-scenes code, like the Google algorithm does, and then it translates that code into language for the blind user. This means that taking the time to label images, keywords, make sure H1-H6 are property titles, and media content is labeled is a win for your users with disabilities and your SEO score.

2. Investing in Accessibility Lowers Risks.

Accessibility tools are good stopgaps to protect your website from being sued. In fact, this should be a part of your risk mitigation strategy for your company or business for your digital operations. Depending on the size and audience you serve, you may be a target of a lawsuit based on your websites non-compliance.

3. Google Grades you on Accessibility – Desktop & Mobile Page Speed Optimization.

Yep, your accessibility score is factored into Google’s site optimization tool. You can literally be downgraded on site score efficiency by having a poorly coded website without accessibility. Why? Google has wisely determined that page speed and optimization is the number one factor when somebody decides to stay on your page. Poorly loading websites will in fact lose conversions or simply have high bounce rates. This all comes down to the way the website is coded and properly coded, accessible websites are also tied to good accessibility and page load speed.

Accessible Page Speed Insights Snapshot - Useful to know for your Accessible Digital Roadmap

4. The Federal Government Requires that any Work Done for them are Federally Mandated by the ADA Requirements.

If you are working as a contractor or service provider to the government this will be a request in any RFP. This is especially true of state or federally funded schools as well, such as state universities and public schools.

5. Major Companies are Bound by Their Own Internal Compliance.

Just like you wouldn’t expect there to only be a staircase leading into a doctor’s office, thus keeping a person in a wheelchair from being able to enter, the same is true of the web. Your website, without your knowledge, can be a liability if it’s not ADA compliant and any organization that you support is required by law to support ADA requirements. Plus, once again, it’s the right thing to do.

6. You Miss Out on a Large Base of Users.

According to Pew Research, 42.5 million US Americans have a disability – that’s 13% of the population. Can you really afford to miss out on that many users? I often hear, “But does this really impact my website?” Yes, these users are defined as hearing, vision, cognitive, self-care, or independent living difficulties, so they are actively using your website and buying your products.

7. Accessibility Helps Create Clean Symantec Codebase.

The order for Accessible Rich Internet Applications (ARIA) and properly sequenced CSS/HTML is optimized to be built on good accessibility standards. These standards are easy to navigate and clearly labeled, which means developers have to be intentional about their coding practices. If a user can navigate your website only using the Tab key (which a good accessible site should be able to do) this means that the code is structured in a very ordered and sequenced way. Good code is clean and structured code. Accessibility focused coding is naturally organized this way to allow the non-human machines to quickly process data and variables for easy translation into a human-readable sequence read by the machine to the human. This includes good labeling, properly formatted styles, and clearly written tagging practices.

8. Accessible Design is Intuitive and Simple Design.

It started with Apple iTunes U and then became a diffractor for Apple in the marketplace. Why? Because good accessibility means clean and intuitive design. They are intrinsically tied to one another and good design is design for all, not some. The hallmark of good design is that’s it’s “easy” and it’s designed with accessibility in mind in order to support the process of machines interpreting the instructions of their human counterparts.

9. Emerging Technology is Considering ADA First, Not Last.

I have heard many people say, “Well this is new tech, I don’t need to worry.” This statement is disingenuous at the very least and uninformed at the best. The fact is that all digital properties will eventually fall into ADA compliance. Recently, there has been a lot of talk of mandating ADA compliancy not just on the federal and state levels but for all businesses. This wouldn’t preclude ADA requirements from emerging tech, but in fact require it. I have personally worked on accessibility for: websites, mobile apps, and even AR and VR devices and my feeling is this – ultimately if a tool is used in the mainstream populace, it will eventually become a property of accessibility compliance.

10. How do I know if my technical stack is compliant?

I would first run a website check on Google’s PageSpeed Insights scorer to see where you rank, anything below a 75% is problematic. You can use this link to test your own website: https://pagespeed.web.dev/ 

Get your FREE Accessibility Review with Magnetic Mobile

If you want a FREE accessibility review, Magnetic Mobile has experience working with billion-dollar brands across a multitude of industries and helping them make sure that they are delivering the best and most accessible experience to their millions of customers. We work with the best accessibility companies in the US to define, mitigate, and correct accessibility needs for a multiple of devices and platforms. 

Have a question? Fill out the form below or shoot us an email at [email protected] – we would be more than happy to help your business!

And keep an eye out for our next piece in our ADA installment as we look at the Digital Accessible Roadmap for Mobile App Accessibility!