Around 20% of people can’t access the information on your web site, and the other 80% could be having a much better experience.
Making sure your web site adheres to international standards (WCAG) and national standards (NZ government) is a good start but won’t necessarily give you a truly accessible web site. Having an inclusive mindset towards accessibility and your users will also help.
Try a few simple things and take a little time to experience what a lack of accessibility means. Unplug your mouse, touchpad or trackpad and try navigating around your site. Using the keyboard only (tab/shift tab, arrow keys, enter and spacebar) navigate and interact with your own or your favourite websites and applications. You may discover a few problems you never thought about. Blind people and people with some physical impairments don’t use a mouse.
One accessibility problem I often encounter is poor contrast between text and background. It is a very common problem on many web sites. No matter how much those of us with low vision enlarge the critical text or navigation poor contrast means it cannot be read. Some sites also create difficulty for people with colour blindness. Test the contrast on your own site using one of the testing tools available from Juicy Studio or Vision Australia.
Accessibility is not only about the technology or the design, important though they are. It is also about the content. Analyse the language on your web site. How easily can it be understood by the average user?
Making web sites accessible to people who encounter particular barriers when using the Internet will mean a better user experience for everyone.