Over 90% of websites are fundamentally broken, actively limiting access to content and reducing engagement as a result of not following the standards and structure that make the web more usable and accessible for all.
In a 2021 study, The Baymard Institute uncovered that 94% of the top grossing e-commerce websites were not accessible.
“Basic accessibility issues severely disrupt those users who need accessibility considerations,” says the study, “and will prevent some from being able to effectively use the site to purchase products.”
WebAIM’s 2021 study of the 1,000,000 most popular websites uncovered that 97.4% of home pages had detected WCAG 2 failures.
The 6 most common web accessibility issues
These are the 6 most common (and easily fixable) web accessibility issues, as reported by WebAIM.
86.4% of homepages have low contrast text
This means text is difficult or impossible to read because it blends into the background colour
60.6% of homepages have missing alternative text for images
This means that images are not described so that people with vision impairments can understand the value and purpose of the image
51.3% of homepages have missing form input labels
This means that form fields do not have text that describes what content is to be entered in the field
54.4% of homepages have empty links
This means that links do not have descriptions or labels that describe and give context to where the link is going
28.9% of homepages do not set a document language
This means that an assistive service such as a screen reader may read the website in the wrong language
26.9% of homepages have empty buttons
This means that buttons do not have descriptions or labels that describe what the button will do
This lack of accessibility contributes significantly to the digital divide, but the issues that are making websites so broken impact much more than accessibility. That’s because the lack of accessibility is a symptom of underlying issues that impact usability, content engagement, performance and site management.
Going even further, many organizations don’t consider the mix of content, design and code that’s required to properly execute, maintain and effectively deliver a website that forms the hub of an exceptional omnichannel customer experience.
Let’s explore these gaps in more detail.
Here are three key questions everyone should be asking about their website:
1. How does your website best serve your marketing, sales, product, service and support teams?
Your website serves a series of cross-organizational purposes. Across sales, marketing, product, service and support, through to a cohesive customer experience, your website is a driver for activity and engagement across your organization.
Often, website objectives are driven by marketing, but talking to and identifying the needs of all the different organization stakeholders who rely on your website to engage with customers will uncover key use cases, content and transactional goals from across your organization.
These cross-organizational objectives will influence not only the design, but also the platform chosen, the features needed and the content strategy necessary for success.
2. How can your website effectively engage your target audience(s)?
Depending on the unique nature of your organization, there are potentially numerous external audiences that will rely on your website. These audiences can include any number of customer groups, partners, suppliers, job seekers, investors and more.
It’s essential to understand where these visitor groups are in their customer journey—what stage of a purchase or product cycle they’re in—to understand how your website will play a role in serving each customer group, while aligning to your cross-organization objectives.
This understanding of your audience will help shape the information architecture, content, calls to action and user flows across your website in order to grow audience engagement.
3. What is the right website platform for your organization?
Once you’ve established a content plan and defined transactional website flows that support your organizational and audience objectives, it’s time to consider the technology that will power your website.
With so many website and code platforms to choose from, the considerations of your staff and audience, as well as standards for performance, accessibility, content management, customization and ongoing management will form the basis for determining the best platform for your organization.
My team at Say Yeah has surveyed the top website builders and web development platforms in order to rank how well they support you in meeting website accessibility standards and requirements. Explore your options in-depth with the Website Builder Accessibility Review.
If you’re looking for more insight on the capability and performance of your current website, the Essential Website Audit answers two critical business questions:
Is your website broken?
How can you fix it?
This is your path to understanding how your current website platform supports your organization and what next steps you can take to better leverage your website as a critical marketing, sales, product, service and support tool.
You can achieve so much more with your next website refresh
It’s not always easy to know where to start when you’re reviewing the effectiveness of your website, planning to launch a new site, or looking to meet accessibility objectives. Remember to ask these three key questions in order to deliver a more effective, manageable and engaging website.
- How does your website best serve your marketing, sales, product, service and support teams?
- How can your website effectively engage your target audience(s)?
- What is the right website platform for your organization?
This is the foundation for delivering a more inclusive website that helps your business better serve the full scope of your market, with your website as the hub of an exceptional omnichannel customer experience.