Did you know that the word accessibility almost always evokes the image of a disability sign in people’s mind? Developers are not any different: they want their webpages to be the most attractive, stylish and efficient, yet they frown internally when the talk of accessibility comes up.
Accessibility <=> Findability?
These words sounds similar in meaning, but the concepts are different. Accessible websites cater for a variety of audience and users: people with audition issues, poor sight, dyslexia, low literacy, restricted physical movements or internet speed. Essentially, accessibility is about making everyone feel and be welcome to use a website.
On the other hand, Findability happens one step above this. It is about bring people from the web to the website. A page that is findable will appear on search results. It will use keywords, tags and links to hook the search engine spiders. It will showcase its content and structure to draw the user in.
User Experience: the Trump card
There lies the connection between the two. Some pages might make awesome use of rich snippets for SEO, but if the page itself is clutter of information then it’s a waste of code. The purpose of a page is to be viewed and browsed. It should have an architecture verified by W3C standards and validated by WAVE requirements. The page should have a search field to help users find specific content within the page.
That said, SEO can seem a bit overrated. Why spend countless hours optimising single pages for search engines if the content is enough to hook users? It’s true that “SEO” has become the new buzzword, just like “marketing” used to be in the 90s. It is important to keep in mind that SEO is only one way to improve findability. Online and email marketing, Pay-Per-Click and traditional advertising are equally good ways to boost incoming traffic on a webpage.
Internet browsing devices might be the norm for Millenials and Digital natives, but their purchasing power is still not a significant mover. Radio, TV and newspapers marketing still have their appeal for older generations.