Whether we’re swiping an app, buying a coffee or riding a subway, all of life is a user experience. If an in-app purchase fails, if the line at the coffee shop is 12 deep, or the subway is late, that poor user experience stays with us. It leaves an impression – and not a positive one. On the other hand, if everything goes well, the user experience suddenly feels seamless, easy, even enjoyable. The same holds true for websites – user experience is everything.
Now imagine your website is a physical building, with a series of long steps to enter, and a directory in the lobby displaying green type on a red background.
For most, this “website building” wouldn’t be a problem. But what if some of your users couldn’t walk and were confined to a wheelchair? What if some could walk, but were red/green color blind? They couldn’t enter your building, or find where they needed to go.
The point is this: users of your website who may be disabled or impaired have a good chance of having a bad user experience. They might complain, provide a bad rating, or worse, take legal action. The net result is a negative reflection of your brand.
The World Wide Web Consortium, or W3C, has developed guidelines to help mitigate these issues, and help all users access your site’s content. These guidelines are known as Web Content Accessibility Guidelines, or WCAG.
The W3C has distilled WCAG compliance down to 4 main areas of focus: Perceivable, Operable, Understandable and Robust. These apply to 3 areas of any website: display layer code, back-end code, and content. Applying WCAG guidelines to your website will make it more accessible to users with hearing, vision, neurological, physical and other issues. Applying these guidelines will greatly help these users – and make your site more usable overall.
JB Design recently had the opportunity to partner with Yale Medicine and Union Community Health Center in the Bronx to help apply WCAG guidelines and bring these two websites into compliance.
JB Design has extensive experience helping businesses achieve their online goals through usability and design audits and implementation.
We are all users. Everyone. If your website is not WCAG-compliant, you may be losing some of your most important users and brand champions.