There are obvious benefits to creating accessible content. Your available audience grows. You avoid legal troubles. But there are also some less obvious benefits that might surprise you.
Better Code Practices
Imagine a simple home page or a table of contents in an ePub. This may be made up of a few simple lines of code—or hundreds of lines of poorly optimized scribblings. In most cases, the average user won’t notice any difference between something created using clean code and something created using spaghetti code. So why does it matter?
Well, imagine your team grows. Or maybe your developer quits. A new developer looking at clean code will be able to understand it and work on it very quickly, with minimal instruction for your current developers. But if your code is written poorly, even simple tasks will eat up tons of your new developer’s very expensive time.
Fortunately, there is a massive amount of overlap between accessible code and clean code. Many accessibility best practices are also best practices for coding in general. One of the goals of writing accessible code is to make important information available in different places so that devices and software can display that information in different ways. This also makes it easier for someone reading the code to understand its individual functions.
Making digital content accessible also means optimizing it for use across a variety of devices—including assistive devices such as screen readers. The accessibility practices that make your content work on these assistive devices will also help ensure a smooth experience across a variety of browsers, screen sizes, and device types.
Search Engine Optimization
Accessible web content will see significant benefits in terms of search engine visibility. As we mentioned before, accessible code is easier to read. And it’s easier to read not just for us, but for search engines as well. Good practices in regards to content accessibility will naturally check a lot of the boxes search engines look for, such as using proper HTML tags and giving images descriptive alt-tags.
Whatever your reason is for adding accessibility to your content, the benefits are near endless. Accessible content can help grow your audience, reach—and your business.