If you’re not building accessible websites, you’re opening up your clients—and yourself—to potential legal claims.
97% of the top 1 million websites fail a basic test of accessibility. And you can’t solve that simply using an accessible theme or plugin.
What Is an Accessible Website?
An accessible website is one in which all users, regardless of disability, have equal access to information. Sites that are not accessible are unable to be properly navigated by an assistive device and therefore:
- may not present the content in the correct reading order,
- may deny the visitor access to some information and
- may have a lower conversion rate.
Why Should You Care About Creating Accessible Websites?
1. It prevents potential legal issues—for you and your client.
As a web developer, you need to be aware of accessibility legislation and protect yourself. There have been cases where clients have been ordered to pay hefty settlements as part of an accessibility case and then looked to reclaim that from the website developer. Can you afford tens (or hundreds) of thousands in fines and legal fees? (And don’t think professional liability insurance will protect you!)
Whether or not your client is legally required to comply with accessibility laws, you should insist on it (or protect yourself if they refuse) due to the potential for legal repercussions to them. The number of website accessibility lawsuits has been dramatically increasing. In the United States, the number tripled in 2018.
2. It’s good business.
A whopping 71% of disabled users leave a website that is not accessible, and the number of people who have a disability is anything but negligible.
According to the World Bank, 1 billion people worldwide have a disability. Disabilities can be visual, hearing, ambulatory or cognitive in nature. You may not be affected by one now, but your future self could suffer a disability one day (temporarily or permanently) as a result of an illness, an accident or increased age.
Can you or your clients afford to turn away up to 20% of potential or existing customers, clients, donors or members?
3. It’s good for SEO.
What’s good for accessibility is good for SEO, meaning the site will rank better and get more traffic.
4. It provides a better experience for all users.
Accessibility doesn’t affect visitors who don’t have a disability. They won’t notice if the site is accessible, but they will appreciate the benefits:
- the enhanced speed of the website thanks to cleaner and leaner code;
- the ease with which they can visually scan a page and find content;
- better readability due to good typography and color choices;
- clearly distinguishable hyperlinks;
- being able to read transcripts along with videos;
- notification of links that go to another website.
What the Course Will Cover
- Module 1: Understanding accessibility and legal considerations
- Module 2: Structure
- Module 3: Color
- Module 4: Text and icon fonts
- Module 5: Media
- Module 6: Hyperlinks, buttons and forms
- Module 7: Testing and ongoing compliance
Colleen Gratzer is an award-winning designer in the Washington, DC, area with more than 20 years of experience in branding, print, and web design and development. She started her agency, Gratzer Graphics, in 2003.
In 2016, she was sought out by one of the top accessibility providers to the U.S. government who knew of her solid design and technical skills and wanted her to take her InDesign and PDF accessibility course because there aren’t enough good designers out there, and there are fewer who know about accessibility.
After taking the course, she spent a lot of time learning about designing and developing accessible websites and educating clients about the importance of accessibility. She provides accessibility consulting to nonprofits, creative firms and developers.
“Colleen really knows her stuff when it comes to accessibility. She not only understands the guidelines and what they mean, but she knows how to best implement them in your website design and development. She saved me hours of research and guess work!”
Get notified when the course comes out.