The Decisive Role of Intuitive, Comprehensive Web Design in the NDIS Era


Posted on

August 10, 2023

From bustling city centres to the Outback’s serene landscapes, Australia’s diversity is its strength. Yet, the same cannot always be said about our digital landscapes. Despite living in a more connected world than ever, accessibility to the internet often falls by the wayside.

If you’re part of a NDIS-supported organization or any not-for-profit entity, you might find yourself asking – “Are we doing enough to be accessible to everyone?” When you compile your funding request, this will be a critical consideration that will set your grant application apart from others.

The answer lies not just in asking the question, but in actively seeking solutions. Comprehensive website design is a crucial piece of that puzzle. After all, when the World Wide Web Consortium lays out guidelines for an inclusive digital sphere, isn’t it time we listened?

Why Accessibility Matters More Than You Think

According to the World Health Organization, one in six people worldwide—approximately 1.3 billion individuals—experience significant disability. This statistic brings to light a harsh reality: inaccessibility of online resources isn’t a minor issue; it’s a global concern.

More so, The Return on Disability Group’s annual report notes that the market, which includes people with disabilities, their families, friends, and advocates, controls over $13 trillion in annual disposable income. Being digitally inclusive isn’t just morally correct. It’s also smart business.

In Australia, NDIS providers support approximately 550,000 Australians with disabilities. To ensure their services are truly beneficial, these providers must prioritize digital accessibility as a cornerstone of their operations. With an accessible website, not only can they engage with a larger audience, but they can also promote inclusivity and equal opportunities.

How Do We Define Accessibility?

To frame it in a way that most of us can understand, consider this. If you’ve ever squinted at a low-contrast text, struggled to find a webpage’s navigation menu, or been left puzzled by an image without an explanatory caption, you’ve experienced the barriers many people with disabilities encounter daily.

The World Wide Web Consortium, also known as W3C, provides the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG). These standards aim to make the web accessible to everyone, regardless of disability type or severity. From vision impairment to cognitive limitations, the guidelines provide a blueprint for building an accessible and user-friendly website.

However, the recent WebAIM survey points out an alarming trend – over 51 million distinct accessibility errors were detected on the home pages of the top 1,000,000 websites. On average, that’s a staggering 51.4 errors per homepage!

10 Key Steps to Build a More Accessible Website for Your NDIS Organization

Building an accessible website is more than just a nice-to-have feature. It’s an integral component of any modern NDIS-supported organization. To help you enhance your website’s accessibility, here’s a list of 10 critical steps you can follow:

  • Prioritize Simplicity in Design: An intuitive user interface is essential for users of all abilities. Avoid clutter and keep your design clean and straightforward, making it easy for users to navigate your site.
  • Leverage Alt Text for Images: About 26% of homepage images lack alt text, which hinders the browsing experience for visually impaired users who use screen readers. Ensure every image on your site has descriptive alt text that accurately represents the image content.
  • Ensure Text is Readable: Roughly 86.4% of homepages contain low-contrast text, making it difficult for people with visual impairments to read. Ensure your text contrasts well with the background and is of a legible size.
  • Adopt Keyboard-Friendly Site Navigation: Not all users can use a mouse. Many rely on keyboards. Make sure your website is fully navigable using keyboard commands alone.
  • Utilize Accessible Forms: If your website uses forms, ensure they are accessible. Label each field clearly, and provide error messages to help users correct mistakes.
  • Provide Captions and Transcripts for Media: If you’re using audio or video content on your site, offer captions or transcripts. These elements allow people with hearing impairments to access your content thoroughly.
  • Eliminate Auto-Play Features: Videos or other media that play automatically when someone lands on a site can be issues for people who use screen readers or have cognitive disabilities. Give users the freedom to play audio and video content when ready.
  • Device Responsive Design: From desktops to mobile phones, users access websites from a variety of devices. Your site should be responsive, ensuring a seamless experience regardless of device size which also boosts your page rank and helps if you’re selling anything on top of your NDIS-supported mission.
  • Numerous Contact Points: Some users may prefer calling, while others want to use a contact form or email. Offer multiple ways for your users to contact you, and ensure these options are easily accessible.
  • Keep Testing and Improving: Website accessibility is not a one-and-done job. Regularly test your website using accessibility tools and incorporate user feedback to ensure your site continues to serve all users effectively.

The Australian Government and NDIS: Leading the Change

The Australian government has been a significant advocate for disability rights, with the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) being a prime example of their commitment. By putting the onus on NDIS providers to develop accessible websites, the government has effectively created a mandate for change.

This has led to the evolution of the web design industry in Australia, with many agencies now specializing in creating accessible websites for NDIS providers.

Web 105 is one such agency with over 15 years of experience in the field. We ensure your website is fully accessible without sacrificing essential features or layouts, so you have a comprehensive design sure to capture your target audience.

FAQs on Website Accessibility

Why should my NDIS-supported organization prioritize an accessible website?

An accessible website allows everyone to engage with your organization regardless of physical or cognitive abilities. This inclusivity can increase your organization’s reach and reputation, fostering a stronger relationship with the disability community.

How can I ensure my website meets the WCAG guidelines?

Engaging a web development agency that prioritizes accessibility, like our team at Web 105, is a significant first step. The agency can review your site, identify areas of concern, and develop a strategy to enhance accessibility.

What if my organization doesn’t have a large budget for web development?

Web 105 works within your budgets and deadlines. We can suggest strategies that balance cost and accessibility, ensuring everyone can engage with your online presence.

Time to Act

The world is evolving, and your website should too. If you’re part of a NDIS-supported organization or a not-for-profit entity, this is your call to action. Ask yourself, is your online presence genuinely inclusive? If the answer isn’t a resounding yes, it might be time to rethink your web design strategy.

Now, we have a question for you. What change would you like to implement on your website to make it more accessible? Share your thoughts with us, and let’s work together to make the digital world more inclusive for all.

At Web 105, we believe in a world where everyone has equal access to online information and services. If you’re ready to take a stand for accessibility, connect with us today. Together, we can build a website that is not only engaging and user-friendly but also serves as a beacon of digital inclusion for the 21st century.