There are many elements to growing a successful business, but ensuring your website is accessible is often overlooked. An accessible website, that is user-friendly and available to all, can help to boost your site’s performance, driving lead generation, sales, and revenue.
In this article, we discuss the importance of ensuring that your website and forms are accessible, and how this can help to grow your business.
Web Accessibility: An Introduction
Web accessibility refers to making websites and online services accessible to all – from people with disabilities to those who are using devices with small screens or have limited bandwidth.
While traditionally, web accessibility was thought of as ‘improving websites so that people with disabilities could access them’, more commonly accessibility is now considered to be “the practise of making websites usable by as many people as possible”.
Reasons people may not be able to access your website include…
- Permanent Disabilities – To fully access a website, a combination of these three senses are needed: sight, hearing, and touch. If one or more of these senses is permanently impaired, then accessing your website may be difficult for an individual.
- Temporary Disability – This concerns people with a disability that affects them for just a short amount of time. Temporary disabilities can range from tiredness to broken bones or even lost glasses, and can cause even your most loyal customer to become frustrated with your website.
- Situational Limitations – This covers a range of issues, including many that each of us can probably relate to. For example, bright sunshine, a situation where you can’t listen to audio, accessing a web page on an old device or a small screen, or a slow internet connection.
As you can see, accessibility can affect a wide assortment of people, at different times and for different reasons. Therefore, web accessibility is about ensuring that all your users can fully access your website whatever their situation – whether that is easily navigating between pages to find the information they need, opting into a service that you provide, or ordering products.
For more information on the what’s and why’s of accessibility, have a read of this article – Web Accessibility: What is it and Why is it Important?
The Business Argument for Accessibility
Statistics tell us that around 20% of the world’s population have a disability. Depending on the definition of a disability, and where you gather your information, it is believed that between 12% to 26% of the Western population are living with a disability. And within the US, one in four adults, around 61 million people, have a disability that impacts their life. (Statistics from the A11Y Collective).
These statistics do not take into account anyone with a temporary disability, or any situational limitations that most of us face in our daily lives. In addition to this, many older people have age related impairments which can affect how they interact with the web and the content they find there.
Therefore, it is quite evident that if your website isn’t accessible, then you will ostracize a substantial percentage of your target audience.
Let’s think about this more closely…
- Inaccessible Websites Lose Customers to Competitors – If your website isn’t accessible, then at the very least you could be losing 20% off all your traffic. And what’s worse, this traffic will gravitate to those competitors who have taken the time to create accessible sites.
- Inaccessible Websites Miss Out On Sales – A survey by UK based Click-Away Pound, designed to explore the online shopping experience of people with disabilities, found that 71% of users leave a website that isn’t optimized for accessibility. The survey also showed that the spending power of this group is over 12 billion pounds a year – which is a lot of money to miss out on! For more statistics on the profitability of an accessible website, check out this article from accessibility experts Level Level.
- Inaccessible Sites Can Face Lawsuits – If your website isn’t fully accessible then it could be considered discriminatory towards those with disabilities. Depending on your country and state, and where your audience is located, this could leave you open to lawsuits. Therefore, it is crucial that you research accessibility laws and guidelines in your country and for your business sector to ensure that your site is complying with regulations – and make the necessary changes if not.
The Importance of Accessible Forms
Forms are the main point of contact between you and your customers – whether it is collecting email addresses, initiating conversations, or taking payments. Therefore, if you want a truly accessible website then you need to invest in a form builder that will enable you to create truly accessible forms.
Gravity Forms is fully committed to accessibility and making the web accessible to everyone. This commitment is reflected in our upcoming release of Gravity Forms 2.5, which has seen our development team working with accessibility specialist, Rian Rietveld, and the team at Level Level, to solidify our position as the most accessible form builder on the market.
With Gravity Forms 2.5, you can expect accessibility changes across the board, turning our form builder into an accessibility tool that can be used to create forms that achieve WCAG 2.1 AA compliance. For more information on what this update will mean for Gravity Forms and our community, check out our 2.5 Resource Hub.
Gravity Forms 2.5 will be available to purchase from Tuesday, 27th April, 2021 and if you are a Gravity Forms customer, it will be available to download from within your Gravity Forms account dashboard.
Equally, our free 2.5 demo is available to everyone, and has been designed to give users the full 2.5 experience.
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