In a world where only 10% of Americans do not use the internet, businesses need to have proper representation online. This means creating a good website that generates traffic and consumer engagement. With ever-changing consumer needs, website designs need to adapt to fit what they need and expect the most for the present time. In this case, inclusive and accessible site designs are highly in demand.
Economics of Accessibility
Around 1 in 4 American adults have some form of disability, according to the CDC. This, however, does not make them inactive consumers. People with disabilities wield roughly $8 trillion in annual disposable income, according to The Return on Disability Group. If businesses wish to access that massive spending power, their websites need to be designed with elements of accessibility. The visually impaired need the option for larger fonts and better contrasting colors. The hearing impaired greatly benefit from subtitles and transcripts of any videos that may be on the site. The option for speech-to-text on the site’s design is a great help to those with limited mobility. Seamlessly uniting these elements together establishes a strong site to meet accessibility demands.
ADA Compliance and Consequences
A website design service based in Buffalo recommends businesses build websites that are professional, sleek and responsive. However, these are not the only attributes needed. They must also follow the law. The Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA) came into law around the early ‘90s, and it protects the civil rights of consumers with disabilities. Around September of last year, the Department of Justice made it clear that ADA also applies to business websites. Large companies like Domino’s and established brands like Beyonce have been sued because their websites were not compliant with ADA guidelines. Businesses wishing to avoid civil lawsuits must design their websites with aesthetics, functionality and ADA in mind. The Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) sums up acceptable attributes that make sites ADA compliant.
Over 64% of American consumers access the web through mobile devices, according to TechJury. Websites do not only need to be accessible, but they need to be functional across different platforms. Widgets and plug-ins need to work regardless of whether the site is accessed through a PC or a tablet. Website inclusivity also refers to widening the way businesses allow their consumers to engage. Bad forms of inclusivity include giving consumers only a number to call for customer support. E-commerce businesses also benefit from adding design elements that cater to those with anxiety and non-physical forms of disabilities. At the end of the day, a website with a holistic UX, SEO and inclusivity appeal more to consumers from both a personal and PR perspective.
If recent consumer demands are to be an indication of what’s to come, website design will consistently sculpt itself around the user experience. Businesses that wish to grow their brand presence and draw in consumers will need their websites to be inclusive and accessible. Only time will tell what other consumer trends and needs will pop up and affect web design in the future. What is certain is that in order to remain relevant, brands should adapt accordingly.