Due to a comment on the last post I wrote on the subject of accessibility, I realize there are some myths to be addressed on the subject.
Myth #1: Accessibility will cost more
Actually, it shouldn’t. A properly educated and trained designer will do this for you as they go. This shouldn’t be an extra. It should certainly not be something done after a site is created. To be fair, making a site, then fixing it for accessibility later could cost you some money. Just like having someone make a site who doesn’t know how to keep it search engine friendly, and then you pay again later for SEO. If you start out with a well-trained designer you can get it right the first time.
Myth #2: But I don’t want a second website!
There is also a common misconception that you will have one site, and a second “accessible” site. This is not and should not be the case. Ideally, you would have one very nice, accessible website. You shouldn’t have to pay for two. (Admittedly, if you insist on using certain non-accessible technologies, you will likely have to pay for a second site.)
Myth #3: Accessible sites are ugly
Some are. But they don’t have to be. Take a look at my primaryweb design site. Admittedly, there are a lot of common practices in web design you just can’t do with an accessible site. For example, there are designers, or their clients and supervisors, that will be married to a font size. You’ve got to let that go to be accessible. Let me put it like this: if a font size is what is going to make or break your site, then you’ve got bigger problems than accessibility! You’ll have to choose what design trends you will and will not work with for your site.
Myth #4: Accessibility is just about the blind
Nope, you have to consider other options too. What about colorblind people? They are a sizable part of the population and if you are using color to guide them to important points then they are less likely to notice them. How about deaf site visitors? Having a bunch of audio on your site with no transcript available isn’t much use to them. How about everyone over 40? Senior citizens? They don’t run monitors at 1024 x 1280 and up, and they also can’t read the tiny 8px to 10px font size. And they shop online too!
Myth #5: We need to control the user experience
No way. Today’s Internet (or Web 2.0, if you must) is all about user control. Your visitors want to control and customize their experience. The more we let that happen, the happier they are and the more likely they’ll keep coming back.
Myth #6: People that need an accessible website don’t come to my site
Are you sure? How do you know? Is there some way to track this? No. You don’t know. And how much business are you losing because your customers can’t use your site? You can’t tell if someone with special needs has been to your site any more than you can tell if site visitors are wearing pants.
Find yourself an accessible web designer and make sure you aren’t missing out out potential customers!