Doing Your Own Website Audit Part 2 – Accessibility
Continued from Aesthetics in Web Design
When describing web terms I find it is often easier to explain things by referring to real world scenarios. The principals that apply to any business apply just as much on the web.
Making something accessible means developing it in such a way that it makes it very easy for your customers to access your site and ultimately get to the information and product they need with out much hassle. As an example in a restaurant it would be making sure there is enough parking, that the entrance is easily accessible and that waiters can walk seamlessly between the tables without knocking over trays and spilling on customers.
Web strategies are not separate from your business strategies and these need to be integrated to find a solution that best suits your business and your clients needs. Here are a few aspects of accessibility that you may consider when doing your website audit.
Responsiveness means that your website does not only cater for desktops and laptops as it did in the old days, but can be just as easily accessed on a tablet or on a smartphone.
Making your site responsive will make it much easier for your clients to access your products or services on the go. The more painless you can make the process for them, the more your site will translate into sales.
Not only is it a convenience issue, for you it is also a numbers issue. In 2017 78% of internet traffic was via smartphone as opposed to only 17% being on laptops and desktops. If your site is not responsive for mobile then you are missing out on huge marketing opportunities.
The fact is people will access your site via their phones and if it looks bad then it will immediately create a bad impression.
My last rant on mobile responsiveness will bring us onto our next point. It is simply that a site being mobile friendly does not just mean it will look nice on small screens, it means that it will also load fast and that the coding used on it will work correctly.
Speed and Bandwidth
These two things go hand in hand, a faster site uses less bandwidth. The trick is to keep your site looking slick and professional while at the same time not having it too clunky. While one may think it is a good idea to have videos and large sliders on the home page, it is imperative that the size of these scripts, videos and images are taken into account when beginning development.
A good rule of thumb is that your home page should not be larger than 2MB. If you want to check it out then you can test it here:
Slow websites have two fatal flaws that could be damaging your marketing without you knowing it.
Firstly if a client comes to your site and starts to face a slow loading page, they could get annoyed and navigate away before they have even looked at anything. One also needs to read the room and know who your audience is – if it is the majority of the public who are accessing your site via their phones then a slow loading site will slash your penetration by more than half.
The second issue is based on the first. Google will penalise you for a slow loading site. Your organic rankings will be a no show and all searches done on Google will lead potential clients to your competitors. Any AdWords and Ads that you run will be half as effective since clients navigating to your site may just leave because they cannot wait for the site to load any longer.
Here are a few things that increase your sites performance:
1. Limit the number of images or length of videos
2. Minify your scripts
3. Use caching programs
Catering for the Disabled
This is something that not much attention is given to for the vast majority of websites, but Google does reward you in rankings if these things are properly in place.
Something you may never have thought of is that blind people also surf the internet. Two categories of assistive technology are used most by blind Internet users: Screen reader software translates screen contents into speech they can hear through their speakers or headphones and refreshable braille displays allow braille characters to be generated on the fly.
Having your website structured in the correct manner makes it easy for this software and devices to navigate the site and know what it is about. This is why it is important that you have the correct weighted headings in the right places. Images should also contain alt tags so that the readers can know what they are about.
Make it easy for your clients to find what they are looking for. Make them feel welcome. A visit to your website should be a pleasant experience for them and not a chore to try to sift through slow loading pages that are overloaded with bumf. Avoid unnecessary content that bloats your site and keep it sharp and to the point. Flashy gimmicks are old hat, get them in and out as quickly as possible while still getting your conversions.
Remember, the most important person is your customer. If your website can exude that, then you will do well.
Owner at Custom WebI’m the owner here at Custom Web. My passion is to help companies promote and turn their businesses around using the experience I have gleaned over 12 years in the website industry. Feel free to contact me if I can be of any assistance.