Published Date: 05 June 2024

The internet has the potential to be a powerful equaliser – providing an essential resource for information, services and communication. For many individuals with disabilities, however, accessing the web can still present significant challenges.

By not designing your websites with accessibility in mind, you may inadvertently be excluding a significant portion of the population. This impacts not just users, but also your business, which may be missing out on valuable opportunities for customer engagement, revenue generation and brand loyalty.

As we delve into the reasons why web accessibility matters, we’ll explore its impact on individuals, organisations, and society as a whole – highlighting the importance of creating inclusive digital experiences for everyone.


What is web accessibility?

Web accessibility is the practice of designing and developing websites to ensure all users - regardless of their abilities or disabilities - can access and use them effectively. This may include – but is not limited to – people with vision, hearing, or cognitive impairments, permanent or temporary motor difficulties, and/or learning disabilities.

Most countries have laws and regulations to enforce web accessibility - and these are constantly being expanded and updated. In the UK, the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) are the recognised standard for creating accessible digital content.

These digital accessibility guidelines are based on the POUR framework, which focuses on four key principles:

  1. Perceivability: Information and user interface components must be presented in ways that users can perceive. This might include providing text alternatives for non-text content, such as images, videos, and audio.
  2. Operability: Users should be able to operate the website interface effectively. For instance, developers should ensure all functionality can be navigated with just keyboard input.
  3. Understandability: Content and navigation should be clear and understandable to all users. This includes using clear and concise language, and providing helpful cues and instructions when necessary.
  4. Robustness: Platforms should be robust enough to work across a variety of devices, browsers, and assistive technologies. This means following coding standards and best practices to ensure compatibility and interoperability.


Why is web accessibility important?

There are approximately 16 million people in the UK with disabilities – almost 1 in 4 of the population, according to the Office for National Statistics. With an increase of nearly 50% since 2003, more and more users are reliant on digital services being fully accessible.

The internet can significantly enhance the quality of life for people with disabilities, allowing them to independently access essential services like online banking, healthcare, and education – as well as participate in the digital economy and engage in social activities online.

By making websites accessible to everyone, regardless of their abilities, we can create a more inclusive digital environment and help future-proof digital interaction.

There are also other significant reasons to prioritise web accessibility, including:


  • Expanded audience reach

Accessible websites have the potential to reach a broader audience, including individuals with disabilities. Surveys have shown that there are 7.15 million people in the UK who have disabilities that affect the way they are able to use online services.

With an estimated spending power of £24.8 billion, a massive 69% of these users will simply click away if they can’t access a website. Prioritising web accessibility means that businesses can ensure their products and services reach a wider audience and, consequently, expand their customer base and grow their revenue.


  • Better user experience

Web accessibility enhancements often lead to a better experience for all users, not just those with disabilities. Features such as clear navigation, readable text and logical page structure benefit everyone by making websites easier to use.


  • More effective SEO

Along the same lines, most web accessibility practices can also help improve a platform’s search engine optimisation (SEO).

Search engines like Google consider accessibility factors when ranking websites, so implementing accessibility measures like coherent page structures, alt text for images and clear text links can positively impact a website's visibility and rankings.


  • Comply with laws and regulations

And finally, there are legal requirements for web accessibility that make it crucial for businesses to implement standard accessibility principles.

In the UK, legislation like the Equality Act 2010 mandates that public sector bodies must comply, while all UK service providers have a legal obligation to make reasonable adjustments with providing accessible digital services. Failure to comply completely, or not making reasonable adjustments such as by providing information in other accessible formats, could result in serious consequences, including fines and legal action.


Web Accessibility Audits by I‑Finity

I‑Finity can help you discover whether your digital platforms meet UK accessibility standards with our comprehensive Web Accessibility Audits.

With extensive experience across diverse sectors, including the public sector, we specialise in delivering practical solutions that will improve your user experience while ensuring compliance with accessibility laws.

Our expert team will conduct thorough assessments of your website, application or SaaS product, identifying areas of non-compliance and any potential barriers to user accessibility. Following our audit, you’ll receive a customised report outlining our findings and actionable recommendations for improvement.

Get in touch today to learn more.