3.5 Ensure Your Solutions Are Accessible
Not everyone can access services equally, being sustainable is also about being accessible, fair, ethical, and ensuring that your product or service doesn’t discriminate. As such, ensuring your website complies with best-practices and relevant laws whilst meeting the needs of your visitors is critical as well as good business.
- Accessibility Compliance: Your website or application must conform to WCAG (at the necessary level), plus extend beyond to obey relevant laws and meet additional visitor accessibility requirements. Building inclusively means that people with permanent, temporary or situational disabilities will be able to more quickly find what they are looking for, and not have to spend extra time searching for a way to use your product or service.
- Enhancing For Accessibility: Enhance your website or application with Accessible Rich Internet Applications (ARIA) ONLY if applicable or necessary, and accessibility enhancing features when useful or beneficial.
- Electronic Inequalities: Deploy solutions which fight against electronic inequalities in products and services.
Inclusive websites are often more sustainable due to the effort put into improving code quality, user-experience and limiting issues such as barriers to access that trigger waste in the service or product.
- Social Equity:
There is a legal obligation to be accessible, and beyond this, turning away millions of potential visitors due to a lack of care is wasteful not only in time, but in digital and physical resources (e-waste).
Adapting a digital product or service to be accessible-by-default will improve access to information for people with disabilities. This must be managed and maintained over time, as the sustainability benefits from reduced visitor friction add to the benefits from increasing your audience.
An accessible website or application will typically be written using semantic, well-written code. While you may have more code to accommodate accessibility tooling (like ARIA), well-coded sites are usually less bloated, so they may have a performance edge which will reduce overall emissions.
Improving the user-experience through accessibility can also improve financial performance by reducing costs (through lawsuits), building capacity, increasing sales or donations (with new audiences), and making better use of available resources.
Better-equipped experiences across devices and platforms signals to visitors that you are making a concentrated effort to meet their specific needs. This increases trust and can improve conversion rates.
- materials: Medium
- energy: Medium
- water: Medium
- emissions: Medium
<img src="/image.jpg" alt="Christmas cards all lined up on a shelf.">
- Resources on Alternative Text for Images.
- A11y Project Checklist
- Access Guide
- Accessibility and web performance are not features, they’re the baseline
- Accessibility Support
- Accessible Rich Internet Applications
- Disability and Health
- [GR491] 3-3018 – Electronicism
- [GR491] 3-3019 – The Digital Gap
- How Web Content Accessibility Guidelines Improve Digital Products
- IBM Design For Sustainability (PDF)
- Internet access, sustainability, and citizen participation
- Internet Speeds by Country 2023
- Introduction to Web Accessibility
- Learn Accessibility
- List of sovereign states by Internet connection speeds
- Making Content Usable for People with Cognitive and Learning Disabilities
- Performance Is Accessibility
- The Little Book of Accessibility
- The Mobile Performance Inequality Gap, 2021
- The Performance Inequality Gap, 2023
- This Is WCAG
- W3C Web Content Accessibility Guidelines
- Web Accessibility
- What is the law on accessibility?