Besides high-quality design, functionality, and SEO, website accessibility is another consideration your WordPress website needs to tick. Yet, it isn’t the first thing most people think of.
Website accessibility isn’t too different from accessibility in the physical world. Imagine running a website that as many people as possible can access, no matter their background or impairment. To achieve that, you’ll need to build the virtual equivalent experience, at the very least!
Why is accessibility important for a Website?
Users living with visual or motor disabilities usually navigate the web differently. Often, they use screen readers or just their keyboard to work on websites. Unfortunately, the gap between people with disabilities and accessibility to the web is widening.
In fact, amongst common screen-reader users, over 60% feel that web content hasn’t changed. Or actually got worse between 2019-2020. This is attributed to a lack of awareness, web accessibility skills, and practical tools.
In short, web accessibility is about considering all your website visitor’s potential requirements. And addressing them by adopting better web practices. Staying ignorant to the issues surrounding inaccessible websites widens the gap between people with disabilities and those without.
Is Website accessibility a legal requirement?
It’s no wonder some countries now regulate website accessibility by law. In fact, during the first half of 2018 alone, as many as 1,053 web accessibility lawsuits were filed in federal court. That’s a massive 23% hike from the previous year!
You can easily test whether your site meets accessibility standards by using accessiBe’s free accessibility and compliance testing tool, aCe.
And don’t worry. There are quick and simple practical solutions you can use to boost the accessibility of your website. If you’re ready to make WordPress accessibility a priority, we’re here to help.
The Benefits of Improving Your WordPress Accessibility
WordPress accessibility is essential to each and every website owner. Not only is it a matter of business credibility, but ethically, including users from all walks of life is the right thing to do. These are a couple of reasons why WordPress takes accessibility very seriously.
All new and updated code released on WordPress must comply with WCAG guidelines as per the WordPress Accessibility Coding Standards. These requirements aside, accessibility isn’t a one-way obligation. Instead, improving your WordPress accessibility can, in fact, unlock several benefits for your website:
- With roughly 15% of the global population living with some form of disability, you’re better positioned to drive traffic from a wider pool of people. Otherwise, you might not have been able to navigate your site.
- It’s great for SEO – search engines prioritize accessible websites and penalize inaccessible ones.
- You’ll create a non-discriminatory user experience which is generally expected from professional websites.
- You’ll improve the general usability of your site, even for visitors without disabilities. Better readability and navigation make for a better user experience (UX), making it a win-win for everyone!
Currently, How Accessible is Your WordPress Website?
You might be wondering how much your website lagging where WordPress accessibility is concerned. The good news is that all WordPress websites have the potential to be accessible already.
However, this depends on:
- How your website was developed and customized
- Whether you’re using an inaccessible theme
- Whether you’ve downloaded an inaccessible plugin
…all these factors can hinder accessibility.
To make a judgment call on the current state of your WordPress accessibility, you need to conduct an audit. However, to do this effectively, you first need to understand the different types of accessibility.
Types of Website accessibility
Multi-device: Over 53% of all website traffic is generated through mobile phones. So, for your website to be truly accessible, you need to ensure your site’s mobile-friendly. Fortunately, responsive WordPress themes are now usual. Still, if you’re unsure, it’s worth double-checking the mobile friendliness of your site.
Auditory/visual/motor/cognitive impairments: Of course, you can’t simplify the requirements of different disabilities entirely. However, your website should be accessible to screen readers. This is vital for ensuring those with visual impairments can navigate around your site.
Your website should also be accessible using a keyboard only. So anyone unable to move a mouse can also browse your site. Lastly, videos should have subtitles or transcripts so that deaf users can benefit from all your website’s content.
Economic (slow internet, older hardware): Users that don’t have access to new technology should still be able to browse your website. You can ensure this by guaranteeing quick page load times by opting for high-quality hosting.
Pro Tip: You can learn about Convesio’s hosting capabilities here.
With so much to consider, it’s lucky we don’t have to figure out WordPress accessibility on our own. The Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) set a clear, recognized standard for accessible websites. This consists of 65 testable criteria across four core principles.