The advantages of prioritising accessibility on your corporate website
With the date for the implementation of the new European Accessibility Act coming closer (28 June 2025), having an accessible website has gone from a "nice to have" to a "must have". If you haven't already started looking into the accessibility aspects of your corporate website, it's time to do so now.
In today's digital age, corporate websites are essential for businesses to connect with their stakeholders. However, not all websites are created equal when it comes to accessibility.
For example, 36% of the 668 ranked European corporate websites in the 2022-2023 Webranking edition did not reach above the lowest benchmark level of 50 points in the Google Lighthouse Accessibility Audit, which definitely leaves some room for concern.
Essential for some, useful for all
It's important to keep in mind that different kinds of disabilities are affecting a larger number of people than you think, and not all are not obvious. As many as 15% of the world's population have some kind of disability, and around 80 million people in the European Union (EU) currently have a disability according to Monsido's Accessibility statistics.
Disabilities are commonly divided into three kinds, permanent, temporary and situational.
Permanent disabilities are conditions that are expected to last for an extended period, typically for the rest of the individual's life. Physical or mental impairments often cause these disabilities and may affect the individual's ability to perform daily activities, work, or engage in social activities. Examples of permanent disabilities include paralysis, blindness, deafness, amputation, and certain neurological conditions.
Temporary disabilities are conditions expected to last for a limited period. These disabilities may be caused by injuries, illnesses, or medical treatments, affecting the individual's ability to perform certain activities during recovery. Temporary disabilities include a broken bone, surgery recovery, or a concussion.
Situational disabilities refer to conditions in which an individual's disability results from their environment or circumstances. In these cases, the individual's disability is situational because it is caused by their surroundings rather than an inherent physical or mental impairment. Examples include stress or being in a loud environment.
Good for people, good for brands
While one of the most critical reasons to have an accessible corporate website is legal compliance, there are also plenty of other benefits.
For example, accessible websites are easier to use for everyone, not just people with disabilities. By optimising your website's accessibility, you can enhance the user experience, reduce bounce rates, and improve overall user satisfaction. Providing an accessible digital experience benefits all your users.
In addition to the practical benefits, an accessible corporate website can also help enhance your brand image. Demonstrating that you value inclusivity and diversity can position your business as a socially responsible and caring organisation.
Learn more about how poor UX can affect corporate reputation
Finally, making your website accessible can also improve your search engine optimisation (SEO) efforts. By improving the accessibility of your website, you can enhance its visibility to search engines, making it easier for people to find your content online. This can lead to increased traffic, engagement, and, ultimately, conversions.
The three pillars of accessibility
The three main pillars of creating an accessible digital experience revolve around a website's design, content and code aspects. All three parts must meet accessibility standards to provide a completely accessible experience.
Creating an accessible website design involves considering the needs of users with disabilities and ensuring they can access and use your website as efficiently as possible.
Here are some key tips to help you create an accessible website design:
- Ensure proper colour contrast: Ensure enough contrast between text and background colours makes content more readable for people with visual impairments.
- Choose an easy-to-read text style: Make sure the text is comfortable to read, especially for body text. It is essential to use an appropriate font size and spacing that prevents letters and words from running together or overlapping.
- Interactive elements: Providing visual cues when users hover over or focus on interactive elements helps them understand where they are in the content and what actions they can take.
- Have a consistent and predictable layout: A consistent and predictable layout helps users navigate through the content and interface more easily, reducing confusion and improving accessibility.
- Ensure keyboard accessibility: Ensuring that all interactive elements can be accessed and used using only the keyboard is essential for people who cannot use a mouse or other pointing device.
An aspect that is commonly overlooked is how you can make your content accessible, especially in corporate communication, where information tends to be complex.
Creating accessible website content involves ensuring that your content is understandable, navigable, and usable for people with disabilities.
Here are some key tips to help you create accessible website content:
- Use clear and concise language: Use clear and simple language, avoid jargon and acronyms and follow guidelines for writing accessible content. Work with testing the readability of your content using tools such as Web FX's readability test.
Learn more about how to make your content readable
- Structure content logically: Use headings and subheadings to create a logical and easy-to-follow structure for content, as well as organise content with lists, tables, and other formatting techniques.
Learn more about creating a perfect content structure
- Use descriptive alternative text (alt text): Provide text descriptions for images, videos, and other non-text content to make them accessible to people who use screen readers or have visual impairments.
- Use descriptive link text: Use descriptive link text that provides context and information about the link's destination.
- Avoid using colour alone to convey information: Avoid using colour alone to convey information, as this can be difficult for people with colour blindness or other visual disabilities.
- Avoid flashing content: Avoid using flashing content, as this can trigger seizures in users with photosensitive epilepsy.
- Use proper text formatting: Use proper text formatting, such as bullet points and numbered lists, to break up content into smaller, more manageable sections.
- Provide closed captions or transcripts for videos: Providing captions or transcripts for videos and audio content helps to make them accessible to people who are deaf or hard of hearing.
Writing accessible code involves considering the needs of users with disabilities by, for example, making it easier for screen readers to read the code.
Here are some key tips to help you write accessible code:
- Use proper HTML semantics: Using semantic HTML elements helps to provide a more meaningful and accessible structure for content, improving accessibility for users of assistive technologies such as screen readers.
- Use WAI/ARIA attributes: The Accessible Rich Internet Applications (ARIA) specification provides additional attributes and roles that can be added to HTML to improve the accessibility of dynamic and interactive content.
- Ensure form accessibility: Making sure that forms are accessible and easy to use is essential for all users, but especially for those who use assistive technologies to navigate and interact with content.
- Clear error handling: Providing clear and concise error messages and suggestions for correcting errors is important for users who may have difficulty understanding complex or ambiguous instructions. Work with UX writing to improve the tone of voice of your system, making it as easy as possible to understand.
- Avoid using tables for layout: Avoid using tables for layout purposes, as this can make it difficult for users with screen readers to understand the content.
- Measure performance: Ensuring that the website or application loads quickly and efficiently is important for users with slow internet connections or older devices, who may have difficulty accessing and using slow or resource-intensive content.
How can we help?
In conclusion, having an accessible corporate website is no longer just an optional feature, but a necessity that ensures everyone, including those with disabilities, can access your website.
Our team of experts in web design, development, and content creation has extensive knowledge and experience in creating accessible websites that comply with accessibility standards.
Reach out to us if you would like to know more about how we can help you improve your website's accessibility and provide a better user experience for all.