What Web Accessibility Upgrades Every Restaurant Should Consider

What Web Accessibility Upgrades Every Restaurant Should Consider

An accessible website is a user-friendly website that works for all people.

You know all about making your brick-and-mortar restaurant accessible to all people. But have you thought about your restaurant website?

If you haven’t thought about website accessibility lately, it’s time to put it at the top of your list. Why? Because it’s the law. 

In this article, we look at web accessibility upgrades every restaurant should consider this year. But, first, let’s look at the legalities.

What is the Law?

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) was signed into law in 1990. It’s a comprehensive piece of civil rights legislation. It prohibits discrimination against people with disabilities and says this group must have the same opportunities as other Americans. 

The ADA spills over into the digital arena as well. While the ADA doesn’t mention web accessibility standards, federal courts have ruled that websites must be accessible to people with disabilities under the ADA. 

In the federal court rulings, they have cited the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (or WCAG) version 2.1 at the AA level.

According to the Washington Post, a growing number of U.S. businesses are getting hit with disability lawsuits. This includes the restaurant industry. 

It’s vital that your website is accessible to all people, including people with mental or physical disabilities, aging, and even people with slow internet connections.

What Does Web Accessibility Mean for Your Restaurant?

First, let’s define a disability. According to the CDC, a disability is “any condition of the body or mind (impairment) that makes it more difficult for the person with the condition to do certain activities (activity limitation) and interact with the world around them (participation restrictions).”

Your website needs to be accessible to people with any kind of disability. You open yourself up to significant liability and lawsuits if it isn’t.

The most important thing for you concerning your restaurant’s website is that anyone can use it, and if you offer online ordering, anyone can order food from you no matter their disability. (tweet this)

Most websites today don’t meet meet accessibility standards. This means your competition probably doesn’t either. 

This is where you can come in and set your restaurant apart. Concentrate on these areas when looking at web accessibility upgrades:

  • Visual
  • Speech
  • Auditory
  • Cognitive
  • Physical
  • Neurological

Must Have Web Accessibility Upgrades

Now let’s take those categories above and break down some actual upgrades you should consider. 

  1. Ensure that your website supports keyboard navigation. This means that when a user wants to move around your website, they do so by using the Tab key. Keyboard-only users are everywhere today, so please make sure your website visitors can use your Tab key to hover over every website element.
  2. Include an interactive accessibility toolbar. For example, perhaps an older person without good eyesight or a partially blind person is trying to look at your text. You want to ensure that these website guests can adjust the text size so they can see it better. 
  3. You also want your visitors to be able to change the color contrast on your website. Some people see dark text on a light background better while others like a dark background and light text. 
  4. The accessibility toolbar should also include audio and video playback options for web visitors. This way, a person who is hard of hearing or sight impaired can learn what you have to say in audio and videos.
  5. You also want a text-based menu. This helps people with visual and hearing impairments. These website visitors often use screen readers to “read” the content on your website. You want them to be able to scan the text and not just the navigation menu. 
  6. All your images should have alt text that can be read or heard by people with disabilities. This alt text should be quite descriptive for people who can’t see the photos. 
  7. Don’t use auto playing videos if you want your website to be ADA-compliant. This is true for the hearing impaired as well as those with sensitivity issues. 
  8. Add captions for your videos for people with a hearing impairment, so they can read what’s being said.
  9. Don’t use pdf menus. While this is so easy for you to do and just throw up on your website, it doesn’t meet accessibility standards. A web version of your online menu will be easier for people with disabilities because they can use screen readers. This also improves your mobile website because your menu adjusts to screen size where a pdf won’t.
  10. When it comes to online ordering, ensure you label your fields correctly so screen readers can tell your website visitors what they’re ordering. You also want your form to be accessible via a keyboard as well. 
website accessibility

It may seem daunting to upgrade your website, but we can help.

Website Accessibility Upgrades Help Grow Your Business

A website that is upgraded and accessible is not only better for people with disabilities, but it’s more user friendly for anyone who lands on it. (tweet this)

By improving the overall user experience and making it easier to read and order from, you can increase your online orders. 

People won’t bounce off your website as much as they do now. They will like your easier to use interface. 

Your Upgraded Accessibility Improves SEO

You know that search engine optimization (SEO) is important for your website. But did you know that the act of improving accessibility improves your SEO? 

First, Google likes well-structured website code. Second, Google likes websites that are easy to navigate, speedy, and easier to search.

Here’s what Google looks for on a website when deciding where to place your restaurant website on search engine results pages.

  • Site speed
  • Meta descriptions
  • Page titles
  • Description alt text on images
  • A structured order to header tags and correct use of them
  • Descriptive link text for all links
  • Machine readable content
  • Better color contrast so your text is easier to read

By upgrading your website, you’re actually upgrading the things that Google values in its search engine ranking systems.

Final Thoughts

You’ve made your restaurant accessible to all, and now it’s time to concentrate on and upgrade your website accessibility. 

You want your website to be easily understandable and navigable by everyone. Your website visitors should be able to perceive the information on your site and figure out what to do with it. 

Your overall user experience gets infinitely better for both people with disabilities and without as you concentrate on the upgrades listed here.

 At Restaurant Engine, not only do we create great, responsive websites, but you can count on us to create a website that is accessible and available to all. Let us help you create the perfect site that draws customers in, improves your conversion rate, and enables you to grow your business! Ready to take the plunge and create a new website or upgrade your current one? Get your free website consultation today!

Images: KOBU Agency and Domenico Loia on Unsplash

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