Website Accessibility – 3 Questions You Should Be Asking

Rebekah Pike

Website accessibility – not sure what we mean by that?

It’s actually a lot like what we talked about with aesthetics – the visual design elements that create a welcoming “front door” experience for a new customer.

Accessibility is that same idea, but from a technical standpoint, rather than a design one – things like compatibility with mobile devices and page loading speeds.

When we talk about website accessibility, we’re talking about how your website is succeeding or failing at providing a seamless, functional experience for your customer.

Here’s a quick thought experiment: Imagine you’re shopping for new shoes. So you decide to stroll downtown to your local store. But it takes you forever to find, because the address isn’t listed on the outside of the building and the door is actually located halfway down a dark alley and up a shaky flight of old stairs. Which is … weird. And actually sort of creepy. ?

Okay, on to shopping! But all you see is an empty room and bare shelves. There’s a list of the brands of shoes that they sell, but no pictures or sample pairs on display. So you’re left awkwardly trying to explain to the sales person what you’re looking for and then they have to run back and forth from the stock room with boxes of shoes trying to find exactly what you want.

Doesn’t seem super useful, does it? ?

How would you feel about your shopping experience?

How likely would you be to come back?

The critical problem with this imaginary shoe store is accessibility.

Because the store is so difficult to find and once you’re finally in, it’s so hard to locate what you need and make a purchase, you’re probably unlikely to become a repeat customer.

They might have a great product to sell. They might have employees who really know their stuff. But the infrastructure and technical aspects of the store are totally letting them down!

Now, let’s get back to your website. Your site should be so easy to find, access and navigate that the customer feels like they’re getting great service – even before they ever meet you or your employees in person.

So – how can you make your website into a dynamite customer service rep for your company?

Here are three questions to ask!

1.) Is my website fully functional on mobile devices?

If search engine optimization – SEO, for short – isn’t something you’re familiar with, check out our quick intro for beginners right here. Believe it or not, a mobile-friendly site is actually critically important to keep your website visible in search engine results.

Why? Because search engines favor sites that are specifically designed to work for mobile devices.

This makes sense when you realize that Americans are using mobile devices for almost 70% of their digital media minutes. Search engines simply aren’t going to waste their users’ time with websites that aren’t accessible from mobile devices.

Beyond the SEO issue, it’s incredibly frustrating for the user to navigate a website that isn’t set up for mobile devices. The font is often too tiny, the photos aren’t sized properly, videos won’t play correctly – and if the whole website just feels too difficult to wade through, that potential customer is likely to give up and look elsewhere.

2.) Is my website meeting current web browser standards?

This is where we deep dive into the digital nuts and bolts that make up your website. The basic idea is that you want all the design, structural and content elements of your website to work seamlessly for current, updated web browsers. Because if your website and browsing standards aren’t matching up, your website might look wonky and not operate smoothly.

While most website platforms make this happen automatically, you may run into problems if you’re using a really old platform or your website is several years old and hasn’t been updated recently.

If you’re concerned that your site isn’t meeting these standards, it’s really helpful to consult with a professional web developer (hey there! ?).

3.) Is my website loading too slowly?

We’re all a bit impatient, am I right? ? Slow loading times can be caused by many things – improperly sized images or outdated scripting, for example. A site that takes forever to load isn’t doing your company any favors.

Customers are likely to get frustrated and move on if they can’t find the products and information they want. Plus – back to that all-important SEO we keep talking about – search engines favor sites with fast, efficient loading times and will pass you over if they see that your site is slowing their users down.

Concerned that your website isn’t keeping up?

We can help you figure out your next steps and get your website back on track.

But we don’t want to just give you an updated site and walk away – keeping a website running smoothly is a big job!

That’s why we also offer a monthly subscription service where we stay on top of all these little details – hosting, maintenance, personalized support – the works!

You can tweak and customize your membership to suit your needs and your budget. Learn more about our membership options here!

Want to chat more about your website? Give us a call or shoot us an email!