Our blue colour as text on a white background – a contrast ratio of 4.2:1 – a fail.
Our logo blue colour as text on a black background – a contrast ratio of 4.98:1 – a pass.
For those without colour deficiency vision, the above example may be a great surprise, which demonstrates the importance of colour contrast checking.
By now you might be thinking that every colour has a different aspect which needs to be considered while designing your site. But that’s not true. The general rule is don’t use colours which are too bland or pale, always provide additional icons on forms and use black borders to differentiate between overlapping visuals.
Colour affects your bottom line
We could talk about colour contrasts and beautiful colours for hours, but for digital product or ecommerce managers this lacks meaning unless it can be tied to more conversions, more revenue, more traffic, more repeat customers, more customer referrals.
At its base line, creating a website which is accessible to all, including colour deficient people, is a goldmine for untapped revenue and conversions. But it’s not just CVD. Over 600,000 people suffer from age-related macular degeneration, the biggest cause of sight loss in the UK; while around 480,000 people in England have chronic open-angle glaucoma.
People with colour deficiency or other accessibility requirements are regarded as being part of the purple pound community. Together they have a spending power of £274billion per year, in the UK alone.
Purple, a charity whose purpose is to bring disabled people and business together, shows businesses lose £2 billion per year due to ignoring the needs of disabled households, £11.5 billion is lost as users click away from sites which are inaccessible.
The bigger picture
The numbers quickly start adding up, making a powerful business case for accessibility. But accessibility isn’t just for the 1 in 5 people who identify as having a visual, cognitive or physical disability. We all benefit from such features without even realising it.
Consider, too, that people with CVD have friends and families who also want to see companies making their digital assets more accessible. They observe the impact this has in improving the lives of the people they are close to.
In fact, accessibility helps everyone. Even users and customers without CVD will find some colour combinations more legible than others. Furthermore, at a time when there is heavy reliance on the web for work and leisure, you have the opportunity to differentiate your website and apps as being easy on the eye for the general user.
Businesses hit by lawsuits over online accessibility
It’s not enough to just say that you are unaware that your site isn’t fully accessible. Users won’t stand for carelessness. In the US and Canada there have been thousands of lawsuits because sites weren’t accessible, even among some big names like Target, Netflix and Disney.
The significance of WCAG
The regulatory landscape on accessibility is changing and a new compliance benchmark moves website and mobile app accessibility from being an afterthought to the top of the corporate agenda.
For public sector organisations, including academic institutions, any website or mobile app needs to meet new legal requirements that build on existing obligations to people with a disability, introduced with the 2010 Equality Act. Website and apps must conform to the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG).
For organisations in the private sector, this means that there are now standards against which ‘accessibility’ can be measured if there is a complaint that a website or app disadvantages users with a disability. Since the law recognises ‘best endeavour’, it makes sense to adopt practices such as auditing for accessibility to show your commitment to continuous improvement in this area.
It should be clear that planning your website or app with accessibility in mind is a fruitful road to go down. And if repeat customers are your focus, then know that three-quarters of accessibility affected people and their families turn away from businesses if they are not deemed accessible.
But conversely, they have also shown to be the most loyal and repeating customers if their needs are met. Remember, we aren’t just talking about one user, it’s them and their family.
Digivante offers Accessibility Testing conducted against 5 critical areas and 79 unique test cases based on the latest WCAG standards. For more information visit our accessibility services page or get in touch.
Want to understand more about WCAG? We explain the details in this blog on WCAG 2.2.