If you are like the majority of Americans, you are probably glued to your smartphone. You likely use it to check emails, keep track of the news, and interact with friends on social media. In fact, 2016 was the first time that mobile Internet use surpassed desktop use, tipping the scales at 51.2% for mobile, and 48.7% for desktop (techcrunch.com).
With this in mind, it’s important to understand how crucial it is to have a mobile accessible platform and content. Just because your organization has a website, doesn’t mean it is optimized for phones and tablets. Not to mention, there are 56.7 million Americans who have a disability (2010 U.S. Census). According to the World Health Organization, there are 285 million people with visual impairments worldwide, 39 million of whom are blind, as well as more than 360 million people who have disabling hearing loss.
Mobile plays a central role in providing an exceptional degree of autonomy to individuals with these and other types of disabilities. Mobile devices and applications can provide access to information and services that might otherwise be unavailable. In 2013, Georgia Tech’s Wireless Engineering Rehabilitation Research Center conducted a study that showed 92% of people with disabilities use a “wireless device such as a cell phone or tablet.” Many use a screen reader, which is a piece of software that relays content and functions audibly to the user.
Additionally, the New York Times reported in October 2017 that the Baby Boomer generation (those between ages 53 and 71) are a coveted buying audience by many industries, primarily due to having discretionary income and the time to spend it. The New York Times also cites a report by eMarketer for AARP, which claims that more than 60% of boomers owned a smartphone is 2016, and 73% of people ages 50 to 59 owned a smartphone and used it daily. Incidentally, age-related farsightedness, which makes screen text difficult for some, affects both men and women around the age of 40.
Mobile websites and applications have revolutionized the way we stay in touch, conduct business, search for goods and services, and keep ourselves entertained and informed. As these services and information sources move to a mobile environment, it is critically important from both civic responsibility and litigation standpoints, that content be available to everyone. It’s also important for mobile web designers, developers, and content providers to remember the end user – and that even if you aren’t directly impacted by a disability, many in your potential user base could be (Vivian Cullipher, microassist.com).
Making online content accessible means building a website, app, document, video, or other digital medium in such a way that people with disabilities can perceive, operate, and understand your content, even when using assistive technologies such as screen readers or magnifiers. Web designers and developers, as well as the companies that own and host websites, should ensure that accessibility is built into their website from the very early stages. If you’re still not convinced, here are four more important reasons to design your mobile website to be accessible:
- Google Prioritizes Mobile-Friendly Websites
Mobile-friendly websites are prioritized over those that are not in mobile search results. The Google algorithm change that occurred in 2015 completely changed the way Google displays mobile search results. Websites that are optimized for mobile rank better than those that do not.
- It’s Becoming a Standard Best Practice
Countless websites are mobile-friendly with more and more coming online every day. Responsive web design has made mobile optimization more direct and accessible to everyone, which means users have begun to expect this level of functionality to become standard when browsing on their mobile devices.
- It Builds You Credibility
Having a mobile accessible platform and content helps you build credibility with your users, clients, and other influencers in your industry. With a mobile website, the chances of anyone who visits your site on a mobile device will more than likely have a positive experience, and this will encourage them to see you as a credible resource for information and services.
- It Benefits Your Reputation
The importance of a mobile accessible platform and content benefit you not just online, but offline as well. People will take note and remember a website they have a great experience with, and consequently they will also take note of a website that gave a poor experience. Reputation is everything, and most businesses and organizations cannot afford to give people a bad experience – digital or otherwise.
Websites that aren’t mobile-friendly are quickly falling by the wayside as our world is quickly evolving into a predominantly digital environment. Waste no time in contacting us today to help guide you in building what your users want and need. We are here to help!