Benefits of Accessible Websites

Aside from gaining more persons to view your site, what else can you profit from re-designing your site into an accessible one? Here are some of the many advantages on the business side:

  1. IT REDUCES WEBSITE MAINTENANCE COSTS. — If you include accessibility in you site, you can reduce the costs of maintaining it. It will be better organized, simpler, cleaner coding and content make pages easier for designers, developers and content authors to work with and maintain. An accessible web site separates the content (words and images that we see on the screen) and presentation (the way these words and images are laid out) of each page. This is due to efficient and effective use of technology such as Cascading Style Sheets (CSS) that reduces time to download graphics.
  2. IT CAN BE EASILY CONVERTED TO OTHER FORMS. — In the not so distant future, the use of mobile phones, personal device assistants and in-car browsers will all be regularly used to access the Internet. People who can afford to use these new technologies come from the high-income groups. If you want to get a market share of these groups, you’ll need a web site that can work on most of these machines. With accessible web sites, converting them to other technologies will be much easier.
  3. YOUR WEBSITE WILL LOAD FASTER AND MORE COMFORTABLE TO USE. — An HTML file that is lower than 100 kb can appear in your PC faster. A faster download time would mean more time spent in your web site. If your web site takes much longer than ten seconds to download, many of your site visitors will be clicking away and you will lose a potential customer.If a person can navigate to your site easily and find useful information faster, then, he would be satisfied. It would also mean increased traffic to your site.
  4. IT WILL BE COMPATIBLE WITH ANY EXISTING STANDARDS. — You won’t have any doubts whether your site appears proper in any type of browsers (Internet Explorer, Firefox, Safari, Netscape, Chrome and Opera) or with any screen resolution (800 x 600, 1024 x 768). It can also be opened in almost any operating system platform (Windows, Mac and Linux) without any problems. Your site can also be seen with standard fonts (arial, verdana and times).If your site is not compatible with other browsers or platform, then you might lose valuable customers.
  5. YOUR WEBSITE WILL APPEAR HIGHER IN SEARCH ENGINES. — The application of accessible coding methods to site design in no way hinders a search engine’s perception of your site, and in many cases greatly improves access to your content. The implementation of accessibility techniques might just give you a better chance to gain higher search engine rankings and, thereby, attract more visitors.Another thing, if your markup codes are cleaner, it is more accessible to search engines like Google.Search engines don’t usually understand images, JavaScript, Flash, audio and video files. By giving alternative content to each of these, search engines will better categorize your site.
  6. DISABLED PEOPLE HAVE SPENDING POWERS. — Just because they are disabled, it doesn’t mean that they are poor! On the contrary, disabled people especially the senior citizens and those under government or private welfare have a lot of money to spend.Most people run a business to make money and their web site is an
    important tool for their business activities. Disabled people probably benefit from the Internet more than anyone else. If blind people want to go shopping at a supermarket, they have to inform the supermarket of their arrival by phone and when they get there, they have to be accompanied around the store by a member of staff. An accessible website will make it possible for them to do their shopping at home and in their own time. Imagine how much easier that would be for them.
  7. YOUR WEBSITE CAN MEET INTERNATIONAL LEGAL REQUIREMENTS. — The “Biwako Millennium Framework for Persons with Disabilities in Asia and the Pacific” was drafted under the supervision of the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and Pacific of which the Philippines is one of the signatories. All provisions within the framework will soon be adopted by the UN General Assembly and will be put into law. Part of the framework is the access to information and communications technology.Aside from this, the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) is an international body tasked to develop guidelines to lead the Web to its full potential. It validates web sites and checks if it complies with international standards.Imagine if your web site has already complied with international laws. Your site will enhance its appeal to other countries, not just in the Philippines.
  8. YOU WILL GAIN GOOD PUBLICITY. — You can be proud that your site is accessible to everyone. You will also bring positive atmosphere to your business by opening your web site not just for the able-bodied but also for the persons with disabilities.

By making your website accessible to disabled and other marginalized people, you will more than likely benefit through increased business.

Source: Philippine Web Accessibility Group