Why is web accessibility so important?
Accessibility is important as it is your vital connector with your customers, community and contacts. In an environment where everyone is connecting online, businesses need to step up their accessibility options or risk losing sales and viability.
But accessibility is not just relevant to business. Online access is proving essential is so many areas of our lives. Government authorities, emergency services and many other essential providers are increasingly using smart tech to connect with the population to communicate important safety and other advice.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, the Australian Government developed an app – COVID SAFE – which was accessible from smart phones and provided a very important tool in contact tracing. Tele-health services have also been increased to allow people in remote areas or in vulnerable circumstances to access essential medical services from their computer or mobile devices.
For older people, technology classes are available to educate and inform them how to use devices to stay in touch with their friends and families. This connection is essential to maintaining their mental health.
Online shopping is no longer the exception, it has become pretty much the norm for not only the younger generation but everyone. Businesses that do not include an online experience are losing out to their competitors. Many retailers have pivoted to online only as a more cost-effective way of doing business than maintaining bricks and mortar premises.
While websites were the first stage, apps are the new generation in accessibility. Apps can either be a responsive version of a website which has been specifically designed to suit mobile devices or a function specifically designed to serve a targeted purpose. We all use direction-finding apps, we have apps to check the weather, play games on our phones and do our banking. In fact banking and payments are a key area of accessibility. Contactless transactions are growing in use. Apps are allowing people to make payments by simply tapping their mobile phone to the provider’s payment terminal, show our driving licence and many other purposes
This accessibility is being used in retail and transport and is being rolled out into many other areas.
Developing an app can be a complex process but the costs are coming down as the tech improves and as more developers enter the space. Developing an app as an extension of your website and to be used in conjunction with your website will increase your accessibility.
Hardware and devices are also important to accessibility. If you don’t have the right devices you limit your accessibility. If you upgrade your website, add an app and other tech, you may need to upgrade your business IT system to cater for the upgrade.