What is accessibility?

Kylee MaloneyAccessibility is – literally – access for all. In this context, it means that everyone can visit a website and have a similar experience, regardless of who they are, where they come from and what they use to access the internet. Every visitor needs to be able to visit and use your website as easily as their neighbour.

Why is Accessibility important?

There are two excellent reasons.

  1. Firstly, there’s your customer base. Think of all those people who are different from you in some way. They may have come from another country and have difficulty with our language. They might need to access the web using specialist or adaptive software. If you left out all those people, how many customers might you lose and never know it? How many people might miss the important things you have to say? What might be the impact on your business if significant numbers of people find it hard to access or use your website?
  2. The second reason has to do with design. AN accessible website is great for your business because every feature which is designed to promote accessibility also enhances your search engine ranking.

How do you do it?

AS I said above, it’s all about design. Take a look at every website in Lonsdale Media’s portfolio. You’ll notice they all have certain things in common.

Easy to read

This is because of several features: the way the page is laid out, the clarity of the font, the high colour contrast between the foreground and background, and the straightforward language.

Easy to Navigate

You’ll never get lost on a Lonsdale Media website. This is because each page is uncluttered, with a logical, hierarchical structure. Every element delivers what it says it will deliver.

User Friendly

There are no nasty surprises on a Lonsdale Media website. All the links are clearly labelled so you know in advance, what you’ll be getting when you click. If we link to another website, it will open in a new window for you. If you’re asked to download anything, you’ll know in advance.

Hidden Design Benefits

Alternative Text is something you won’t notice, but it’s important for two reasons. It’s great for describing your images to people who can’t see, and it will increase your search ranking.

In fact, every feature mentioned above will do that. Search engines use “web crawlers” when deciding how to present you with information you’ve searched for; and these crawlers look for text. The clearer your links and alternative text on your images, the greater the chance that a potential customer will find your business when searching for a service.

All this adds up to a website which concentrates on selling what you have to offer, and not on its own good looks. That doesn’t mean that an accessible site is visually boring.

Accessibility Myths

  • Accessible websites look plain - While this may have been the case many years ago, see for yourself that this is no longer the case. Every Lonsdale Media website looks great.
  • Accessibility is only for people with special needs - While it’s true that an accessible site benefits people whose ways of accessing the web may be different, it also benefits everyone else. Have you ever met anyone who doesn’t find larger print, higher colour contrast and logical layout easier to use? Then there are those lovely search engine rankings!
  • Accessible websites are expensive - You’ll find our prices at Lonsdale Media very competitive. We build these design features when we create our websites from the ground up, so a Lonsdale Media website need not cost you any more than a site from our competitors; plus there’s the added advantage of all those design features.
  • Accessible Websites are difficult to design.
    IF that were the case, Lonsdale Media wouldn’t be doing it! WE at Lonsdale Media love what we do. We’re proud of our websites and we’re passionate about accessibility and about customer service. Check out our testimonials and you’ll see that most of our clients didn’t even know their websites were accessible, they were just happy with the results.

So, if you want a well-designed site which:

  • promotes your business and not itself,
  • welcomes all visitors, and
  • that search engines love,

Kylee Maloney – Website Accessibility and Information Architecture Consultant

then talk to us!

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