Nearly twelve million people in the UK have a limiting long-term illness, impairment or disability.
Ofcom recently published its Disabled Consumers’ Ownership of Communications Services Report, which reveals younger disabled people now have roughly the same level of internet access as the non-disabled.
What are the common mistakes of accessibility and what does the landscape look like for disabled consumers' access to the web?
My last blog for Econsultancy aimed to dispel the myth that accessible websites must compromise on aesthetics.
It elicited quite a response with many readers agreeing and a number asking for examples of sites that combine both elements.
Before I point you in the direction of two websites that are both highly accessible and attractively designed, it’s important to remember that beauty is in the eye of the beholder.
Furthermore, the aesthetics is the result of the final product. When broken down into its components the beauty is difficult to see. It’s only when those parts all come together that the beauty is evident.
Fifteen years after the Web Accessibility Initiative was launched, which aimed to improve web usability for those with disabilities, online accessibility is still widely ignored.
Far too often there is a belief that a compromise must be made between accessibility and an attractive design.
As a result, a myriad of misconceptions have emerged, often preventing people from making a determined effort to integrate accessibility into their websites.
There are some very simple techniques that digital marketers can use to check how accessible their communications are to people with disabilities, so I was rather surprised to receive this email from Amazon:
The press release announcing Four Season’s new site states that it was "thoughtfully designed...to deliver an immersive and effortless experience tailored to every user".
But shouldn't that include disabled users?
The Four Seasons site review focusing on web usability highlighted some important shortcomings in terms of the booking process and other areas, and briefly mentioned some of the accessibility issues.
Here we take a closer look at some of these and the actions that should have been taken to truly make the site available and usable to every user.
The RNIB (Royal National Institute for the Blind) has decided to sue BMI Baby over its failure to deal with the poor accessibility of its website.
This is not the first time that accusations of poor web accessibility have been levelled at an airline, and it is no surprise that travel websites are an area of focus.
Websites should always be designed
to deliver an engaging user experience. To succeed, marketers need an
understanding of how online communication works and they need to be clear about
how a business can serve the needs of its customers on the web.
The websites that are succeeding online are the ones that concentrate on the delivery
of quality user experience, functionality and added value elements such as
personalisation to really engage with visitors.
I was pleased my grumpy old man blog post on usability myths really sparked some interest, with most people agreeing, although a few seemed eager to point out that I’d just ‘critiqued’ them rather than ‘demolished’ them.
I guess I’ll be similarly accused of not letting the facts get in the way of a good story this time. Still, I’ll take the risk and attempt to knock some accessibility myths on the head.
There’s a good business case for making your website more accessible to the UK’s disabled community.
If your website is at the design stage then ask your designer what they’re doing to ensure that people with sight difficulties and cognitive impairments can still use your pages. It’s undeniably easier to build accessibility in from the start.
Don’t despair if your website is already up and running, though, you can still retrofit.
You would think with the money spent on e-commerce platforms today, that best coding practices, accessibility and SEO readiness would be at the forefront of developer's minds.