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Accessibility: Why you should give a damn
June 15, 2022

If you run a physical store, but it’s inaccessible to those in a wheelchair or have another physical disability, you’re losing customers (not to mention running afoul of accessibility regulations).

 

Now imagine this scenario, multiplied many times over, by having a website where customers can’t see or read what’s on your site. And imagine these customers jumping from your online store to another company’s online store in a matter of seconds, with just the click of a mouse. That’s the impact of not having an accessible website. If you haven’t thought of making your website AODA compliant, it’s time to start.

 

An AODA Compliant Website?

In Ontario, the accessibility of websites is governed by the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA). The main purpose of the AODA is inclusion; for online use, that means making websites accessible for those who have some form of impairment that limits their ability to use a computer.

 

For example, one of the most important online considerations is accommodating those who have a visual impairment. Good design – using contrasting colours, large fonts, etc. – helps, but tools such as screen readers are also important to ensure that everyone can access the content on your site.

 

Why is This Important?

  • Most importantly, there is a need to ensure everyone has an equal opportunity to use and access all the information and services available online, including what you have to offer.
     
  • Word of mouth is even more influential online – people posting negative comments about your site’s inaccessibility can reach a wide audience in a hurry.
     
  • Your SEO score – the measure of your websites popularity in Google’s search algorithms — can be impacted. Features such as Alt descriptions, sitemaps and header tags are all essential tools used in creating an AODA compliant site. if Google and other search engines don’t see these on your site, your rankings will drop.
     
  • And finally…it’s the law! Just like regulations that guarantee physical access to public buildings, compliance to the online portions of the Act is mandatory. Although there are exemptions for existing site, starting in 2021 the regulations will be applied to many more sites.

 

We Can Help

When we build a new website, we ensure AODA standards are followed. We also work with clients to ensure these standards stay up to date and run monthly checks to stay ahead of the new regulations. If you’re looking to improve your website accessibility, contact Blueprint Agencies. We’d love to sit down and chat about how to drive traffic to your website by making it AODA compliant.