The landscape of law firms is changing. This includes different pricing options, new technology and more knowledgeable clients. As such, it has become increasingly important for law firms to stay competitive.
Marketing your firm is imperative to making a profit, and the more available your content is, the better your chances of gaining new clients. This includes making your website accessible to all.
What Does Accessibility Mean?
Having an accessible website means that the design and development allows people with disabilities, such as vision loss, to interact easily with digital technology. Some examples of web accessibility include:
Ensuring all videos are captioned so people with hearing disabilities can still watch
Making the website navigable via keyboard for those who can’t use a mouse
Not relying solely on color to convey something’s meaning, so that those who are color blind can still understand your messaging.
We had the opportunity to work with the Canadian National Institution for the Blind (CNIB). In this project, we were able to tailor our Word LX™ platform to meet their specific needs. This made the document creation software usable to the 14% of the CNIB workforce who can’t rely on visual clues.
For more information, you can read the full CNIB Case Study on our resources page.
What You Can Do
It’s understood that new buildings need to be accessible for those with physical disabilities. But there’s more to being accessible than providing a ramp and elevator.
Here are three ways your firm can improve your online accessibility:
1. Web Content Accessibility Guidelines
Make sure your website’s backend is developed in accordance with the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG). That way people with disabilities who have assertive technology (software programs that can read text out loud, provide navigation shortcuts, etc.) can actually use those programs when browsing your site.
Having the option available to website visitors also says a lot about your firm and its values, even to people who don’t need the assistance.
2. Third-Party Vendors
Take care when outsourcing website edits to third-party vendors or hiring marketing professionals. Make sure they are up-to-date on the WCAG. If they’re not, keep looking. This saves you time and money in the future because having digital accessibility now means less work later.
3. Get Everyone on Board
Having an accessible website isn’t easy at first. There may be a lot to change in order to comply with the WCAG, so making sure that everyone in your firm is on board is a significant step.
For example, if your IT department is trained on accessibility, but your communications team is not, anything the latter puts on the website won’t necessarily be compliant. And then someone from IT may need to fix what they’ve done. This is a waste of time and money.
If everyone in your firm comes on board and is trained properly, the transition will be seamless. The benefits of having an accessible website outweigh the work involved in getting it ready. Therefore, it’s integral that the attitude towards the updates is positive and encouraging. After all, the more accessible the website, the more client options there are.
It would be a terrible reality to face if potential clients were to choose a competitor because their website is accessible and yours isn’t. As stated above, the benefits definitely outweigh the work involved to make your digital presence available to everyone.
For information on the WCAG, visit their website.