Why Build Accessible Websites?

PushON | February 19th 2008
  1. Google are developing an Accessible search that gives precedence to websites built to web standards
  2. Older people, who are not necessarily disabled often have some of the following problems:
    • arthritus – may not be able to use the mouse; keyboard shortcuts are important.
    • poor eyesight – large text size and good contrasting colours can help
    • hearing difficulties – text version of audio content can be useful.
  3. It’s a legal requirement in the UK that your website is reasonably accessible to people with various disabilities.
  4. The Internet can be extremely important for disabled people, as demonstrated by this quote from Lynn Holdsworth, screen reader user, Web Developer and Programmer “For me being online is everything. It’s my hi-fi, my source of income, my supermarket, my telephone. It’s my way in.”
  5. Roughly 8.5 million people in the UK have some form of disability, and 2 million people are visually impaired. That’s a huge number of people to exclude.
  6. Accessibly websites built to W3C standards tend to have lighter pages, with less code, which mean less work for your server and lower server costs.
  7. Lighter pages also mean they load faster, so your visitors will have a better experience.
  8. Well structured, well coded, accessible website will be easier for all users to navigate.
  9. Search Engine Spiders are effectively blind – they can’t see your images, they won’t appreciate your fancy heading image, and they don’t know what’s going on in your Flash movie… unless you mark-up your code correctly.
  10. Appropriate page titles and descriptions written uniquely for each page improves accessibility, but also increases your chances for each page to be listed in the search engines for a variety of topics. Leading to higher traffic.
  11. The Internet is becoming more mobile, more people are using mobile browsing, which means lots of different browsers, screen sizes and disabled functions such as JavaScript, Flash and images.
  12. Accessible sites are easier to view using a slow connection, for example Mobile Internet or dial up. This is because pages are lighter, styles and images can be turned off and the content of the page can still be read.

Further reading:

If you have any suggestions for additional reasons, leave a reply I’ll add them to the list.