What value do you place on designing your website to be accessible for those with disabilities and special needs? Is it something that you have already done and continue to keep a close eye on, in line with the latest government guidelines?
Or do you feel that you lack the time to bolster your site’s accessibility, or that it’s something that would only benefit a tiny proportion of your prospective customer base regardless?
There is certainly a moral argument for ensuring that everyone – and we mean everyone – can access your business’s website.
There is also a legal one, as if your website fails to meet certain design standards, you could be sued for discrimination. Such legal action isn’t something that many companies have faced so far, but it also isn’t unheard of, with several such cases having been initiated in the past by the Royal National Institute for the Blind (RNIB).
Given the relative lack of legal repercussions so far for organisations that fail to make their websites accessible, it may seem that ignoring this aspect of web design is something you can ‘get away with’. However, there’s another, potentially much more powerful argument for boosting a site’s accessibility: the financial one.
Yes, the number of visitors to your site who are blind may be very small... but there will be many others who have some level of visual impairment, while others may be trying to view small screens in bright environments. By following accessibility guidelines for those with low vision, you can therefore boost the profits that your business gains from all of the above people.
It’s a similar situation when you optimise your site to be easily understood by those with dyslexia. There may be only a small proportion of people visiting your site who are actually dyslexic, but there will be many more people who are non-dyslexic and highly academic, but who might not understand certain specialised terms that you have used on your site. A site that is accessible for dyslexics therefore potentially benefits a much wider range of people.
Or what about designing your site to be more usable for those with physical disabilities? Again, it’s worth thinking here about all of the people who are not physically disabled, but who have previously had to grapple with website buttons and sliders that are so small, it takes five attempts to tap them on a touchscreen device. A website that is easy for a physically disabled person to use is also easy for everyone to use.
In fact, many of the guidelines that you may have read on how you can design a more accessible website – and the Government Digital Service has released some great ones here – overlap with the advice you may have previously read on how you can make your website easier for the entire population to use.
So, why not join the accessibility revolution? Talk to our team here at Piranha Designs about your concerns, and we’ll bear them closely in mind when providing you with a website design that will enable your company to grow among all of the segments of its target audience.
Some of you with widely-held views of the situation between small firms and ecommerce today may be rubbing your eyes at the title of this piece. After all, isn’t every retailer selling online these days? Are there even any genuinely successful brick-and-mortar retail businesses around these days that have no ecommerce presence at all?
The answers to those two questions are no and yes – you probably only need to look around your town or city to see some retailers still exist that apparently do just fine without an equivalent ecommerce portal.
Such a firm may continue to thrive on account of the standard of customer service that it provides, an enviable local reputation or simply the lack of an alternative retailer for its given products anywhere in the immediate area.
Alas, while companies fitting the above description may seem to be doing perfectly well for now, there’s no guarantee that this will remain the case forever. Indeed, pretty much all of the relevant statistics point to online sales still growing at a much swifter pace than general retail sales.
Yes, your average neighbourhood pet shop or hardware store may have fared alright outside the ecommerce world until now, but their task of competing is probably getting stiffer every month and year.
However, it’s also understandable that if you are such a retailer, you will likely have legitimate concerns about the wisdom of developing an ecommerce presence at all.
You obviously won’t have the resources of the big enterprises to give you the luxury of incurring losses or taking on the additional financial burden of ecommerce staff as you get your ecommerce site up and running. Nor may you necessarily have the low overheads and agility of the start-ups that begin life as ecommerce firms while never having to maintain a high-street presence.
Even simply the costs of delivering goods across the country or beyond can seem crippling if you are a brick-and-mortar retailer looking to enter the ecommerce space for the first time. So why not simply offer a ‘click and collect’ service to begin with, whereby customers can order from you online and then collect their purchased item in person from your store?
Alternatively, you may be able to get some of the suppliers from which your retailer already purchases to deliver their products directly to your online customers on your behalf. Or what about starting out on an existing trusted online marketplace, such as Amazon.co.uk Marketplace? This will enable you to select just a limited number of products to sell online initially, as you get to grips with the basics of ecommerce and as a result, minimise the risk of poor customer service.
Would you like to gain a more in-depth appreciation of your retailer’s many options for venturing into ecommerce? Here at Piranha Designs, we have professionals in ecommerce website design that will be more than happy to speak to you, taking into account the specific circumstances and needs of your business.