Did you know that there's about 15.3% of adults in the United States who have trouble hearing, and 9.4% of adults who have trouble seeing?
So if these adults cannot access your website, you're losing customers.
Your Site's Readability
Several factors impede your potential clients ability to read your website.
Simple is better.
Lack of Subtitles or Captions
This is the number one complaint I've seen among the Deaf and Hard of Hearing community. Even taking it to Social Media after "Guardians of the Galaxy 2" turned off their subtitles midway through their trailer.
Subtitles don't just benefit the Deaf and Hard of Hearing, they also benefit Seniors with hearing loss and consumers shopping online with their volume muted.
Please don't trust YouTube to do it for you by "automatic captioning" - watch one for yourself and you'll see they suck! It's easy to upload a written transcript, have Youtube sync it, then correct any timing errors.
Missing Alternate Text for Your Images
Almost every website has images, nothing wrong with that, but not providing alternate text is where you can go wrong.
Blind and visually impaired viewers would like to know what your pictures are about too.
Another inconvenience about images are about restaurant menus. Many blind and visually impaired people (including myself) likes to preview a restaurant's menu online before going to eat there. This is mainly due to restaurants having inaccessible menus - no braille or large print versions available. But many online menus are photos only and have no descriptions at all.
So offer alternate text versions of all your images for screenreaders and braille readers to access.
The older captcha system was inacessible to low vision users, screenreaders for the blind, and the Deafblind who could not see the visual clue nor hear the audio clue.
The newer Captcha systems are getting better nowadays (such as Google's ReCaptcha Reboot (the "I am not a robot" option).
So be sure to update your captcha system and offer accessible alternatives.
Verification Systems are Limited
When opening a new account, or posting something online, or when requesting account changes, many sites require user verification.
Some sites are great and offer options for contact - text, email, saved security questions, or phone options that we can chose from depending on our disability.
There's two Sites that have been a bane of mine for the last several weeks:
So please offer more ways for people with disabilities to verify themselves.
Using the Wrong Terminology
Using the wrong terminology to identify various people with disabilities can turn these people away from your site.
Before writing up an article, describing a product, or even inventing a product, please do your research. It's easy to "Google" a disability topic and read social media posts, blogs and support agency websites and pick up on the terminology used by that group.
For example, don't use the outdated "Deaf and Mute" to describe the Deaf and Hard of Hearing community. Some don't even like the term "Hearing Impaired" either. Also don't go inventing your own terms to sound trendy like saying "hearingless".
Following these simple guidelines to prevent losing 18.1% of your potential customers. People with disabilities are a larger customer base than people with a Hispanic background (13.3%). So it's worth the investment to make these simple tweaks to your website for more clients.