Accessibility. This is definitely a word that you need to know. Indiana University is committed to providing accessible programs, as well as services, for its students, faculty, and staff in all departments. Making sure that your website, program, and documents can be read by all people with any form of disability is the key to making really accessible documents. You are allowing people with disabilities, including visual, auditory, speech, physical, learning, and neurological disabilities, to use the computer in an easier manner. However, even when you do not have a disability, designing accessible documents can still help you!
As a designer and creator, you can look at accessibility in two ways–negative and positive. Negatively, you might view accessibility as something that you are required to include when creating your documents, or you might think that accessibility only needs to be done in order to comply with anti-discrimination laws. However, accessibility can also be thought of in a positive light that effects you. Here are some ways that accessibility will help you.
Your company will appear more socially accepting.
Accessibility can promote the image of your business as appearing to be more socially responsible. By creating an accessible online presence you are allowing people with disabilities to feel comfortable with your services. As you make your website and online documents, think about how your site could be modified to appeal to more people. This is part of accessibility and will improve your company as a whole.
You will naturally gain a larger user base.
As more people are able to use your site with ease, you will begin to see an increase in the number of people who might convert to customers. This in turn will give you more sales. Accessible sites also make you more likely to receive funding. By complying with policies and laws that are already set in place, you will have created a website that is non-discriminate and more worthy of funding
Webpages will be easier to maintain.
When you change your website to allow better accessibility, you are also making your pages easier to maintain, update, and redesign. Say goodbye to all of the tedious work you did previously. Accessibility means less time that you have to spend working on maintenance.
It will improve your SEO.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is how your website is found by Google, Bing, and all of the other search engines in the whole entire world wide web. As you’re building your website, putting together some programs, and even linking in documents, including code for accessibility is almost automatically drawing attention to your key words.
Pages work better on even more devices.
Webpages that comply with the laws of accessibility usually transition better between multiple devices. Again, this means less time for you to spend designing and debugging, and more time for you to work on the fun stuff of web design that you enjoy.
Less bandwidth you have to pay for.
Bandwidth is the bit-rate of available or consumed information capacity. The markup for accessible documents is often very streamlined. Streamlined markup leads to smaller file sizes, which means less bandwidth that you need to purchase on your web servers. This also makes your pages load faster, and since we all want quick websites and happy customers, fast load times are a must.
It will make you a high quality designer.
If you’re looking to get a web design job, adding accessibility to your skill set will make you stand out. Accessibility is one of the current best practices, or web standards, which is very popular right now. This can make a lasting impression with potential clients and employers that you are a high quality designer.
Designing accessible documents, websites, and programs is a positive thing for all. By creating accessible files you are ensuring that people with any form of disability is capable of participating in your online media. But, you are also bettering everyone, including yourself, by creating documents that are accessible. To read more about Accessibility at IU, check out the Assistive Technology and Accessibility Centers.