Give the gift of an accessible website to all your visitors to contribute to the joy and good will of the season.

This holiday season, why not think beyond traditional gifts? Forget the gadgets and gizmos, the clothes and the baubles. Instead, this year, give a gift with a truly lasting impact, one that reaches beyond your immediate circle and touches lives in unexpected ways: give visitors to your website the gift of accessibility.

It may not sound glamorous, but hear me out. Website accessibility isn't just a checkbox to tick, it's an act of generosity that empowers a whole segment of your audience. Those with disabilities, who often face invisible barriers online, will finally be able to experience your website in a way that's inclusive, seamless, and empowering.

restaurant storefront with stairs on the right and a  wheelchair ramp on the left

Think of it like building a ramp for someone in a wheelchair. It takes some effort, sure, but the joy it brings – from the freedom to navigate your space independently – is immeasurable. In the same way, making your website accessible isn't just about compliance, it's about opening your doors to everyone.

On the workbench: steps for preparing the gift of website accessibility

How do you prepare this inestimable gift? It takes a few steps:

1. Get an evaluation from your visitors’ perspectives

Just like any good gift, accessibility requires understanding the recipient's needs. Get your website evaluated by somebody used to thinking about access from the perspective of internet goers who depend on various assistive technologies to experience the web. Have this person identify areas you may have never even thought about, where things might be a bit tricky for users with disabilities.

IAAP Web Accessibility Specialist

Here at SeaMonster Studios, we have a certified Web Accessibility Specialist – me, as it happens – review all our own sites as we create them. I’ll also gladly do reviews and audits for both internal and outside sites that want them. In addition to checking the code, I spend time going through the sites using the very same assistive technologies many people with disabilities use so I can see the sites from their perspectives.

2. Prioritize with Heart

Not all accessibility issues are created equal. Some changes that would have substantial impact on users may be quick fixes, while others may require more involved work. All changes are important to make eventually, and you should make a plan for them all, as we point out in Keep Your Eyes on the Prize. But you should prioritize the list based on impact and feasibility, starting with the most impactful changes you can tackle right away.

Prioritizing like this helps make sure that the greatest number of visitors to your site are benefitted the most quickly, so your gift can be shared the most widely possible. The first Christmas gift of peace on earth was of universal reach, and your gift can be, too! And surely the increased inclusivity of your site will also foster attendant goodwill.

3. Make sure your gift gets under the tree

Don't put it off. Christmas is almost here, so take action right away, but don’t feel like you have to get it perfect right away. The truth is most websites don’t manage to follow all of the applicable standards, much less provide an ideal experience for all their visitors, but there are many simple yet important ways you will almost immediately improve the accessibility of your site, so even giving the gift of starting to work on accessibility is worth it.

4. Up on the rooftop - declare your new commitment to accessibility

man standing on a rooftop shouting good news

Spread the cheer! Update your accessibility statement and announce on your website that you've done so. Let everyone know you’re committed to inclusivity. Make your accessibility statement a Christmas card to your visitors, telling them they're all valued and welcome. Read our tips on how to write a good Accessibility Statement, and then sit down to compose your own Christmas card to your visitors. If you need a second set of eyes on your Statement, we’d love to help you with that!

In addition to the complete statement, make sure to make your own list – in this case the list of the improvements you’ve made. Cataloging these changes will show your goodwill and help your visitors to feel it. The easiest way we know of to do this is with the service of our partner, Accessible Web. Contact us, and we can get you set up with a basic Accessible Web account for free!

Gift Wrapped With Love

a large present in front of a Christmas tree

So, this Christmas, let's give the gift that keeps on giving: website accessibility. It's a gift that empowers, inspires, and connects us all, one pixel at a time.

Merry Christmas, and happy accessible holidays!

Want to give the gift of website accessibility this year? We'd love to help! Contact us for a consultation and let's make this holiday season truly inclusive.