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What is Web Accessibility and Why is it Important?

You own a store selling balloons. Your profits are low; it would seem balloons are not in high demand. Approaches an individual with a pocket of cash prepared to purchase a lifetime supply of balloons, but he enters the balloon store down the street instead.

As it would turn out, this man uses a wheelchair, and your balloon store doesn't have a ramp. This customer would've saved your business, all you needed was a wheelchair ramp; shame. 

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, we want to ensure everyone has an equal opportunity to browse and benefit from the internet. The world wide web continues to grow rapidly - concert tickets, hotel reservations even transportation (e.g. Uber) are online. Let's give everyone an equal opportunity to use these services and more.
  • 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 website's 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 strive to keep AODA standards in mind. We'll then work with our 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 accessability, contact Blueprint Agencies. We'd love to sit down and chat about AODA compliance and your website.