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What are the benefits of an accessible website?

Designing sites in accordance with Web accessibility principles is necessary in order to enable access to all users. If your website is less usable or built incorrectly, you will lose website visitors and may even be breaking the law!

The Disability Discrimination Act of 1995 says it’s unlawful to exclude disabled people from the web, while companies have proved that making a website easier for a disabled person to use would improve the take up of products by as much as 300%.

In April 2009, the British Standards Institution will publish the first British Standard on web accessibility, but why is a British Standard necessary? There are in excess 10m disabled people in the UK with an annual spending power estimated to be around £80bn per annum.
Research by the Disability Rights Commission in 2004 found that a great amount of goodwill exists among web designers towards disabled people, yet less than 20% of UK websites actually meet the basic criteria for accessible design.

Implementing the guidelines laid out by the W3C into your website means:

  • An increase in the amount of visitors who can use your website.
  • Your website will last longer because more devices such as web browsers, mobile phones etc start to comply with the standards.
  • Your website should be easier to read by search engines.
  • Your website will be viewable on other Internet ready devices.
  • Most importantly, if your website adheres to the WAI (website accessibility initiative) you will reach more customers

The WAI have said that “at least 10% of the population in most countries have disabilities” Why should your website not be seen by less capable web users? To make your website as ‘usable’ as possible means that you can maximise your website reach.

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