The impact of accessibility laws on publishers websites and how to stay compliant

What do you need to do to make sure your website is useful to visitors with disabilities?

Bet Hannon from AccessiCart and I discuss the need for web accessibility in publishing, outlining its legal, financial, and user experience advantages, along with actionable steps for improvement.

Article Summary:

In this episode of the Paywall Podcast (watch the video below), we dive into the critical subject of web accessibility for news and magazine publishers. Our guest, Bet Hannon, CEO and founder of AccessiCart, shares her expertise on why ensuring website accessibility is not just a legal requirement but a crucial aspect of enhancing user experience and expanding audience reach.

Web accessibility means making your website usable for everyone, including individuals with disabilities. This encompasses users who rely on screen readers, have mobility impairments, or face other challenges that necessitate adaptive devices for website navigation. Ensuring accessibility is likened to removing barriers in a physical store—it’s about welcoming everyone.

The discussion highlights the financial and legal motivations behind web accessibility. In many parts of the world, including the United States, failing to make websites accessible can lead to lawsuits under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), resulting in significant financial penalties. These legal actions emphasize the necessity of proactive accessibility measures.

Moreover, making your site accessible has numerous benefits beyond legal compliance. Improved web accessibility can significantly enhance your site’s search engine optimization (SEO), user experience, and brand perception. It’s an investment in your current and future customers, particularly as the global population ages and the prevalence of disabilities increases.

The conversation also touches on the economic incentives for accessibility. For instance, studies have shown that inaccessible websites lose billions to competitors who prioritize accessibility, highlighting the substantial market you might be missing out on. Ensuring your website is accessible not only protects you legally but can also drive more traffic and reduce customer churn by improving the overall user experience.

Bet Hannon provides actionable advice for publishers looking to improve their web accessibility. This includes ensuring all images have alt text, maintaining proper heading structure, and ensuring color contrast meets accessibility standards. These steps address the majority of web accessibility issues and are crucial for creating content that’s accessible to all users.

Furthermore, the podcast discusses the importance of considering the checkout process and other interactive elements of your site, which are often critical for e-commerce and subscription-based services. Making these aspects of your website accessible can significantly impact your bottom line by ensuring all potential customers can complete purchases or sign-ups.

Looking ahead, the conversation explores future trends in web accessibility, including upcoming EU legislation that will require most websites to be accessible. This impending regulation underscores the growing global emphasis on digital inclusivity and the need for publishers to start preparing now.

In summary, Bet underscores the importance of web accessibility not just from a legal standpoint but as a fundamental aspect of improving user experience, expanding audience reach, and driving subscription success for news and magazine publishers. Ensuring your website is accessible is a journey worth embarking on, offering numerous benefits that extend far beyond compliance.

Listen to this audio podcast here:

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