What Does Inclusive Website Design Mean and Why Does it Matter?
There’s a very good chance that you’ve already designed your website to be user-friendly, search engine optimized, informative, relevant, and aesthetically pleasing, but if you haven’t yet considered inclusive web design, you may be missing out on a rather large piece of the online marketing pie. Here’s what you need to know about inclusive web design and why it will be critical for your success both now and in the future.
The Holistic Approach to Web Design
Once upon a time, you could stuff a nonsense article with the right keywords and find yourself at the top of search results, but this is no longer the case. Rather than only focusing on content quality, keywords, and metadata, there are numerous other factors to consider. A holistic website is one in which you optimize the entire user experience from start to finish, and when you can accomplish this through your site’s accessibility, the quality of your content, the aesthetic appeal, and even the information framework, your website will be inclusive by default.
What Does it Mean to Have an Inclusive Site?
While you might think that your only goal involves ranking pages and making money, there’s much more to it than just that. It’s important to sit back and think of human behaviors and how people use their computers, tablets, or smartphones. For example, people often use their computers to find recipes, which is simple enough for you to build into a website. However, if the person who is looking up that recipe is blind, this presents a whole new set of challenges. An inclusive site, then, is an accessible site – one that everyone can use whether they are blind, deaf, suffering from anxiety, or even unable to physically operate a keyboard and mouse.
Inclusive Web Design Components
While it may seem as if you have your work cut out for you when it comes to making your website more inclusive, the truth is that technology makes it easier than ever. You do not have to sacrifice your current Google algorithm-pleasing website to make it more accessible, either. Here are some examples of things that you might consider adding:
Closed Captioning – Video is a huge part of web design, and it will continue to be important throughout the years to come. However, if your deaf visitors cannot hear the video, which was ultimately intended to help with conversions, then this will impact your overall conversion rate over time. Closed captioning makes video content accessible.
Alt Text for Images – Blind visitors know that images exist on websites, and even though they can’t see them, it’s helpful for them to understand what exists on the page. Alt text is the perfect way to do this. Make certain the text is relevant to the image and provides a clear, concise description.
Font and Color Changes – The fonts and colors you use can affect your visitors emotionally, so it’s critical that you pay close attention to these. If you are selling products designed to help consumers relax, a bold font with a red background will have the opposite effect and make your website virtually inaccessible. Inclusive web design means choosing fonts and colors carefully, too.
Languages/Translations – Though many browsers have translation abilities built right in, these are nowhere near as effective as providing multiple versions of your site to include people who speak various languages. If part of your audience speaks English and part speaks French, make certain your visitors can access both.
As the years go by and the internet continues to become more saturated, inclusive web design can help you maintain a competitive edge. When people search the web, they want to have the best possible experiences for their individual needs, and the better you become at providing it, the more successful you will be.