Website accessibility’s impact on conversion rates

Businesses can use web accessibility practices to ensure their websites are viewable and navigable for all visitors — including those with disabilities or limitations. This involves optimizing and adapting website structures, visuals, and copy to be accessible to anyone.

The potential benefits are significant: Accessible web design doesn’t just help to improve inclusivity and customer experiences; it can also help impact your bottom line. Up to 27% of the U.S. population has some type of disability, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).1 The disabled community also represents $8 trillion a year in disposable income.2

Engaging all audiences is essential to business success. Learn more about why accessibility is important and how to use accessibility practices to increase conversions and sales.

The significance of an accessible website for businesses

There are many advantages to prioritizing web accessibility. Along with improving overall user experience and conversion potential, enhancing accessibility can help businesses meet the legal requirements of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Accessibility can also open merchants to entirely new markets of customers.

After all, websites are often designed and tested to meet the needs of the average user. But this approach fails to account for the 42.5 million Americans who have a disability, such as visual, cognitive, or physical impairments.3

The impact of accessible design isn’t just limited to disabled communities either. Adopting accessibility practices can help benefit elderly populations who may not be as digitally literate as younger populations or may have vision or hearing loss. They can also help benefit people living in rural communities who may have slower internet access and be less likely to use mobile devices. In the end, accessibility practices can help improve experiences for all website visitors — yielding a more holistic, comprehensive, and intuitive customer journey for everyone.

How accessible web design may help reduce risk

Accessible web design may help businesses reduce financial and reputational risk. In fact, many companies have faced discrimination lawsuits because their websites didn’t meet accessibility standards and ostracized disabled users. In fact, digital accessibility lawsuits for websites, mobile apps, and video content are on the rise, with e-commerce companies receiving the most lawsuits.4

In a landmark 2017 case, for example, a Florida resident sued a large supermarket chain, claiming the brand’s website was inaccessible to the visually impaired. As a result, the brand reworked its website and employee training procedures to ensure they complied with accessibility standards.5

Lawsuits like this one demonstrate that inaccessible websites don’t just frustrate visitors and turn potential customers away. They can also cost businesses hefty sums and potentially affect their reputation.

Accessibility’s positive impact on user experience

Accessibility can directly impact the user experience and increase engagement. For example, businesses can proactively take steps to streamline their site navigation, make content more readable, optimize visuals, and improve the checkout process with convenient and accessible payment methods.

That’s why PayPal’s Advanced Checkout solution enables merchants to offer a range of payment types, including credit and debit cards, digital wallets, and buy now, pay later options. This advanced processing solution also securely stores customer information for easy repeat purchases and recurring payments.

The link between website accessibility and conversion rates

Website accessibility can help improve conversion rates among all audiences. After all, poorly designed and confusing website layouts can drive any customer away. Approximately 37% of consumers leave e-commerce websites if they have poor navigation or limit payment options. Meanwhile, 42% decide within 10 seconds whether they’ll stay or leave a site.6

There are many best practices merchants can use to make their sites more accessible. Here are some examples:

  • Creating a strong color contrast between your text and background can help make your copy more visible and legible, especially for those with sight impairment.
  • Adding alternative text to images can help provide valuable context for people with visual impairments. Alt text can also help improve your webpage SEO and may guide relevant audiences to your site.

Accessibility and the checkout process

Inaccessible web design can lead many customers to abandon their carts at checkout, costing merchants sales and revenue. Basket abandonment rates have exceeded 70% — and some of the reasons include a complicated checkout process and website errors.7

Merchants can help create a more seamless and accessible checkout process by clearly displaying their payment methods, shipping processes, and customer service information in case shoppers have questions.

How to meet accessibility standards

Merchants should aim to meet the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) created by the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) to make their sites more inclusive for people with disabilities. Some of these WCAG principles include:

  • Enabling keyboard-powered navigation
  • Eliminating flashes
  • Providing closed-captioning for video content

Implementing W3C accessibility standards may require ongoing collaboration between multiple departments — including marketing, sales, and engineering — to optimize both the back end and the front end of a website. These teams will have to work together over time to continue updating content to meet new and changing accessibility standards.

Understanding the importance of accessibility is only the start

Accessible web design is critical to enhancing user experiences, improving conversions, and meeting compliance standards. Merchants who don’t prioritize accessibility may risk isolating a massive audience of users who are ready to spend and engage with their business. On top of that, accessibility best practices can help create better customer journeys and checkout experiences for all website visitors.

Not sure how to get started? There are many services and tools available to help businesses improve their website accessibility. For example, merchants can use PayPal’s all-in-one online payment solution to help streamline their checkout processes. Accept a range of convenient payment types (digital wallets, cryptocurrencies, and buy now, pay later options), access risk management tools, and help meet compliance regulations to protect your business and customers.

Learn how PayPal can help improve your customer experience.

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