6 Reasons Why Making Your Website Accessible Is The Right Thing To Do
The whole point of having a company website is to showcase your products and services to as broad an audience as possible.
So why not make your website accessible and inclusive to everyone? After all, the internet is a daily fixture in most people’s lives. Recent studies show the average Canadian spends over 6 hours online every day. That’s close to 40% of our waking hours spent on the internet!
Virtually everything we do requires us to spend time online, whether it’s banking, paying bills, shopping, reading the news, or booking a holiday. Therefore, it is essential that websites are not just accessible, but usable by all. Everyone should have the opportunity to access online content, yet over one billion people globally face barriers when visiting inaccessible websites.
“The one argument for accessibility that doesn’t get made nearly often enough is how extraordinarily better it makes some people’s lives. How many opportunities do we have to dramatically improve people’s lives just by doing our job a little better?”
Steve Krug, Website User Experience Expert
Recite Me assistive technology provides your customers with the online tools they need to understand and engage with your products and services. It also allows you to support our ageing population, people who are neurodiverse, those who are visually impaired, and residents who speak English as a second language.
Using our software isn’t just the smart thing to do. It’s the right thing to do. Here’s why…
1.5 Million Canadians Consider Themselves Vision Impaired
What’s more, an estimated 5.59 million more have an eye disease that could cause sight loss, making close to 8 million people in total. The term ‘visual impairment’ covers various issues, including partial blindness, deafblindness, and colour blindness. For those who struggle with these conditions, accessing information online is difficult. The text size and font used, the layout, and the colour contrasts between the text and the background can all create barriers to reading.
Around 20% of the Canadian Population has a Learning Difficulty
The most common learning disability in Canada is Dyslexia. It affects at least 15-20% of the population and impacts many levels of comprehension, including reading, writing, and spelling. ADHD is the second most common learning disability, affecting more than 1.1 million Canadians. ADHD is a hyperactivity and attention disorder, and those who have it will typically have problems focusing and can be easily distracted. Other prominent learning difficulties include Hyperlexia and Dyspraxia. Hyperlexics can read words but not necessarily understand their meaning, while Dyspraxics often have language problems and experience difficulty with thought and perception.
24.6% of Canadians Speak English as a Second Language
English and French are the official languages of Canada. According to Statistics Canada, the next most spoken languages, all with around half a million native speakers each, are:
While 98% of Canadians say they can conduct a conversation in English, most of us default to our mother tongue to research and communicate online. Even something seemingly simple like finding contact details to email a company or call a customer service or sales helpline can be challenging when navigating a website in a second language. Not to mention more complex tasks like researching financial options, shopping online, using booking sites, or filling in online forms and applications.
Nearly 1 in 5 Canadians has a Disability
22%, to be exact. Disabilities come in many forms. The stereotype of a disabled person is someone who is physically impaired or wheelchair-bound, and most companies tend not to think of this affecting online access. But in reality, the term ‘disabled’ covers a range of mobility and cognitive issues that can significantly affect web accessibility. For example, someone with a physical mobility problem may be limited to keyboard navigation. On the other hand, a website visitor with epilepsy may have no problem using a mouse. However, if they cannot strip away the media or graphics that could trigger a seizure, your website remains inaccessible to them.
7 Million Canadian Residents Are Aged 65 and Over
The internet is an essential tool in assisting older people in leading independent lives. As the ageing population increases, so does the percentage of the entire population with disabilities and visual impairments. Over 65s currently represent 19% of the Canadian population, but by 2030, it’s estimated they will number over 9.5 million and comprise 23%. Accessible websites are required to reach this part of the community so that the elderly do not become excluded online or miss out on valuable information and services.
As Many as 60% of Canadians Have a Hearing Problem
Many instances of hearing loss are unperceived, but statistics show that a staggering 6 out of 10 Canadians have either audiometrically tested hearing loss or tinnitus. That means millions of consumers are predominantly reliant on the internet rather than face-to-face or telephone conversations to access information. Couple this with the fact that many who suffer from hearing loss are also older, disabled, speak English as a second language, or have a learning difficulty. This makes the need for more accessible websites even clearer.
How Does Recite Me Assistive Technology Cater to All Accessibility Needs?
Recite Me assistive technology gives users the ability to fully customize the look of a website for personal ease of use. Our toolbar comprises several accessibility features that can be used individually or combined to make multiple adjustments that account for all access barriers:
- Personalization of font size, type, spacing, and colour.
- Options to change the colour contrast between text and background.
- A screen mask to provide colour tinting and block visual clutter.
- A “text-only” mode that strips away media and graphics and allows users to reposition text on the screen.
- Additional reading aids such as an on-screen ruler.
- A language converter that can translate text into over 100 different on-screen languages.
- Options to download content as an audio file.
- Text-to-speech in 35 languages. Text can be read aloud at different speeds with either a male or a female voice.
- A built-in dictionary and thesaurus to check word definitions.
What Have You Got to Lose?
A whole lot! Let's count the ways that your organization is limited without an accessible website:
- The ability to reach a wider audience - 71% of users leave a site that they find hard to use, and 83% of people with access needs limit their shopping to websites that they know are accessible.
- Increased traffic and sales conversions - 82% of users with access needs would spend more if there were fewer barriers. The online spending power of people with access needs in Canada is $50 billion.
- An enhanced brand image and reputation – stand out from your competition by demonstrating social responsibility through being inclusive.
- Fewer legal implications - it is expected by law that businesses and service providers do not treat disabled people less favourably.
So really, the question is, why wouldn’t you want to make your website accessible and inclusive, rather than why you would.
Want to Know More?
To date, we have installed our software on over 3,700 websites across various industry sectors, so we have the knowledge and experience needed to guide you through the process and make your transition towards inclusion a seamless one.