How Does Web Accessibility Impact Marketing Outcomes?
Fact: If your website is not accessible you are excluding a vast number of potential customers, as people with disabilities represent a significant and often undervalued segment of the market for any type of organisation.
Websites should be easy to reach and navigate by everyone, yet the varying access barriers faced by disabled individuals means this is rarely the case. This makes website accessibility such an important consideration, that you simply cannot afford to ignore it.
It is estimated that:
- At least 2.2 billion people worldwide have a vision impairment.
- Dyslexia affects at least 15% of the population.
- Dyspraxia affects at least 10% of the population.
- More than 5% of the population suffer from attention disorders like ADHD.
- Approximately 450 million people are living with mental or neurological conditions like epilepsy, dementia, and Parkinson’s disease.
- Around one in every hundred people are on the autism spectrum.
- 1-2% of the population in developed nations have issues with basic reading and writing.
- 1 in every 5 households speaks a language other than English at home.
- Millions of people suffer temporary disabilities as a result of accidental injury.
The Impact of Web Accessibility on Marketing
Adopting web accessibility technology helps to reduce legal risk and ensure you are doing the right thing for disability rights. But from a marketing perspective, the benefits go way further than that:
Reaching a wider audience – The statistics above account for 1 in every 5 people. That’s 20% of the overall market that you are missing out on if your website is not accessible to everyone. And of that 20%...
- Only 10% of users have the technology they need to access websites barrier-free.
- 71% leave a site that they find hard to use.
- 86% would spend more if there were fewer barriers.
- 83% limit their shopping to sites that they know are accessible.
Recite Me Fact
After adopting new web accessibility practices, Legal & General Group doubled its website visitor numbers and increased organic search traffic by 50%, while simultaneously cutting maintenance costs by two-thirds.
SEO Benefits – Many of the recommended best practices for improved accessibility are heavily weighted on search engine algorithms. The latest Google algorithm updates actively validate websites that follow accessibility guidelines, and sites offering digital inclusion are becoming increasingly favoured as trusted sources on search queries.
“There’s a considerable overlap between features that enhance accessibility and SEO performance. By making your web pages accessible to everyone, you’re also boosting your chances of being found in search.”
Clair Brotherton, Founder of A Clear, Bright Web
Improved User Experience (UX) - User experience is crucial in the success of any online marketing activities. Search engines actively help to raise awareness by encouraging businesses to adopt better web accessibility standards. For example, Google has official guidelines explaining accessibility and how businesses can help to create a better user experience.
The entire purpose of a UX-friendly design is to improve usability. This is where products like the Recite Me assistive toolbar come in. Accessibility compliance alone does not enable users to create a fully customisable experience. What makes a website truly inclusive is giving people as many choices as possible so they can modify their own view of your site and consume the information in a way that is personalised and tailored to their individual needs.
Improved PR Value – Forbes Magazine recently reported that 52% of all adult online consumers consider a company’s values when making a purchase. That rate is even higher among the Millennial and Gen Z generations, who are incredibly socially conscious in their purchasing habits. It’s no longer feasible to just avoid ‘being the bad guy’. Companies are expected to actively set a good example of being open and inclusive to everyone.
Brand Reputation - Customers favour brands that care about helping others. In a world where consumers are increasingly value-driven, any company that actively promotes inclusivity in its operations will gain a more positive brand identity. In short, if your company isn’t viewed as being inclusive, your products and services will appear less authentic, and customers simply will not spend their hard-earned money with you.
“Digital businesses with accessible websites are demonstrating leadership by example. They are showcasing proof that ethical accessibility practices can help increase brand credibility, inclusion for all, and online conversions.”
Kim Krause Berg, Web Design Standards and Compliance Specialist
Increased ROI – Return on investment on web accessibility technology is easy to track. Recite Me contracts come with automated monthly reporting and quarterly reviews as standard, and your dedicated account manager is always on hand to help you access more insights through our Google Analytics plug-in.
Website visitors using assistive technology have a longer, more enjoyable digital journey. On average, people using the Recite Me toolbar will visit over 4.5 pages per session which surpasses the internet average of 2.8 pages per session. This also decreases the average bounce rate of a website.
Increased ROI can be measured and tracked across every sector of industry:
- Careers - In January 2021, over 3,900 people used the Recite Me toolbar to search for a new career with Morson Group.
- Utilities - United Utilities helped over 100,000 people to read and understand online content barrier-free in 2020.
- Education - Last year, the University of Sunderland helped over 30,000 students access educational information remotely.
- Local Authority – In 2020, online communications became vital for local councils, and Recite Me witnessed a massive 137%increase in the use of our accessibility support throughout the year.
Our Top 5 Website Design Tips That Improve Web Accessibility
Designing an effective website means including characteristics that make it:
- Functional – accessible and easy to use
- Effective – the communication is clear
- Visually pleasing
Yet, there is an astonishing number of websites that are heavily lacking in functionality and effectiveness.
Fact Box: In 2019, an evaluation by WebAIM concluded that 97.8% of homepages failed to comply with the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.1.
We advise marketers to adopt the following best practices to ensure more accessible and inclusive web content:
- Use Headings (H Tags) to define hierarchy – Having content ordered in a logical and easy-to-follow order helps users with limited focus and attention to stay on the page and consume the content.
- Provide relevant alternative text for images – Site visitors with visual impairments may not be able to see images clearly, therefore image descriptions add context and provide value.
- Write descriptive anchor texts – Forget ‘click here’ or ‘read more’. Good anchor text tells readers what to expect so they know if the content is relevant to them. It also increases the chances of extra clicks, which in turn means more web traffic and increased SEO scores.
- Make web forms accessible – Many disabled users struggle to fill in online forms. Even simple enquiry forms requiring only a name, phone number, and email address can prove difficult for those with access barriers.
- Use high contrasting colours - Individuals who struggle with conditions such as dyslexia or colour blindness need additional options to the standard ‘black on white’ template.
Takeaways for Digital Marketers
When web accessibility is part of the strategy and planning process, organisations become better equipped for success. This is true across all industries, whether the primary goal of your business is commerce, academia, or civic engagement.
“Inclusion is not a matter of political correctness. It is the key to growth.”
Jesse Jackson, Politician and Civil Rights Activist
Software like the Recite Me toolbar bridges the gap between accessibility and usability and promotes inclusivity by allowing those with sight loss, cognitive impairments, learning difficulties, physical disabilities, and varying linguistic needs to access websites in the way that is best suited to them.
Together, we can help optimise your marketing efforts and help make the internet a more inclusive environment at the same time.
If you’d like more information on how your organisation can make a positive change towards inclusion by utilising our website assistive technology, please contact our team or book a real-time demonstration of our toolbar.