“The power of the web is in its universality. Access by everyone regardless of disability is an essential aspect.” -Tim Berners-Lee, W3C Director and inventor of the Worldwide Web Consortium.
Whether we realize it or not, accessibility features help us every day. Did you use an elevator when your hands were full of luggage? Did you walk through an automatic door or a ramp of a building? Everything down to the dips in curbs are thanks to decades of accessibility advocacy. If you’ve ever pushed a shopping cart, walked with crutches, carried heavy bags, or struggled with joint pain, curb cuts have helped you. This universal benefit is also known as the Curb-Cut Effect, and it does not only apply to sidewalks.
Beyond physical accessibility features, you may have also utilized web features without second thought. Did you utilize predictive text when texting? Did you change your screen to dark mode on your phone? Did you use your voice to send a message? Although these accessibility features were designed for specific needs, they ultimately help everyone.
Electronic Curb Cuts
As the internet has become an integral part of our everyday lives, technologies have rapidly developed to become more accessible to those with disabilities. Learn about how assistive technologies intended to help those affected by disabilities have aided an even larger scope of website visitors.
3 Ways Accessible Design Benefits Everyone:
- Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
- How often do you search the internet hoping to find an answer immediately? On average, website visitors will leave a web page in less than 20 seconds. To grab a visitor’s attention for longer, the content must be optimized. SEO plays a critical role in capturing someone’s attention. SEO makes your website discoverable as search engines rank highly used keywords and phrases. SEO and web accessibility synergize with one another to help people find content easily. Websites that focus on SEO and accessibility open the door to a larger audience. Not only do search engines help users with disabilities, but they are also easier to use and understand by everyone.
- Plain Language
- Clear content is comprehendible content. Plain language helps readers understand content more quickly. Greater comprehension results in less error or misunderstanding. It also ensures a higher level of accuracy for translation. Plain language benefits everyone, including those with cognitive disabilities, low reading literacy, people encountering an unfamiliar topic, and non-native speakers.
- Translatable Content
- Over 67 million U.S. residents speak a language other than English at home. Translatable content removes barriers for those who speak or prefer to read a language other than English. Automatic translation tools scan content and translate it—making it easy for site visitors to read and understand.
Going Above and Beyond Accessibility
The next time you roll your shopping cart down a ramp or scan information on a website, remember the impact it has on those with or without a disability. Accessible products and features are not just for people with disabilities. They benefit everyone. While a change in accessibility may slightly enhance your web experience, it may make a huge difference for others.
Don’t know where to start on making accessibility efforts? Our team of trusted web experts are here to help.