Based on https://opensource.com/life/16/10/why-web-accessibility with my commentary
Improved Search Engine Optimization
As we’ve learned from the accessibility guidelines and accessibility class, descriptive links make for good, accessible links. Take the following link for example:
“More” what? What does “More” mean? We have no context for what this means, where this link will take you, or why. This is a common problem among users that use screen readers. Just like you and I, screen readers “skim” websites to find what’s interesting. Typically, links are interesting, so the screen reader will read ONLY link text. It’s easy to see why this could be problematic. If a user’s screen reader is just reading “more,” “click here,” “here,” etc. it isn’t helpful for that user. Your user should not have to click on the link to find out what it is for. (Guideline 2.4.9)
At this point, I assume you’re wondering what any of this has to do with search engine optimization (SEO). Search engines look for keywords when crawling the web. Keywords in links are more useful than plain text, thus increasing the chance that your website will be found using search engines. If your links just say “more,” you just missed out on a great deal of page views, which for some people or companies could mean lost customers.
Although we have a department dedicated to UX at FNC, UX is EVERYONE’S responsibility. How ALL users interact and experience a website or product is everyone’s problem. Making your website accessible is a great way to start thinking about situations all of your users could be in.
We like to think that people who are blind, deaf, or have a learning disability are the only ones that are helped by the web accessibility guidelines we’ve learned about previously. This isn’t the case. We’re all affected by temporary disabilities in our daily life. Take, for example, the following scenario:
You’re outside looking at Facebook on your phone. It’s extremely bright outside, therefore hard to see your Facebook feed. This is one way to simulate having a visual disability. By going to the accessibility settings on your phone and increasing the contrast (for example Settings > General > Accessibility > Increase Contrast on iPhone), it makes everything on your screen easier to see. If you’re also walking while browsing Facebook, it might be hard for you to click on links or “like” a post. This is similar to the challenges people with motor impairments face every day.
At any point in our day, we could be on the spectrum of disability.
If you’re not making your websites and products accessible, you’re discriminating against 1 in 5 people that try to use your products.
Both Harvard and MIT have been sued by the National Association for the Deaf in 2015 for failing to provide closed captioning for their online educational videos. Both universities argued that the current laws do not explicitly state that universities to caption web videos even though it would be the right thing to do for their disabled students.
Regardless of the outcome of this case, being the defendant in this situation is much more expensive than the cost of handling accessibility in development. If Corelogic FNC were to be sued, it could give the company bad publicity. This would keep new clients from considering Corelogic FNC’s products and could cause current clients to stop using our products.
Increasing Your Potential Audience
Half of people over the age of 40 start to lose the ability to focus on things close up. More than 37 million adult Americans (about 15%) are hard of hearing or completely deaf. Over 22 million adult Americans (nearly 10%) have trouble seeing or are completely blind. It’s estimated that as many as 15% to 20% of Americans are affected by a learning disability or disorder. In general, about 1 in 5 people have some kind of a disability. This is why it is SO important to make our products and websites accessible. So many people are being excluded from certain products because of something they can’t help.