This article discusses the importance of website compliance and usability. It also discusses the sustainable ways to balance the two.
In today’s fast-paced digital world, it is very important to strike the right balance between website usability and compliance. With new digital tools and technologies being introduced in the marketplace, the legal requirements and compliance guidelines are constantly evolving to accommodate them.
Therefore, business owners and web developers must have a clear understanding of the compliance rules and usability features of a website to ensure a smooth user experience. Additionally, website compliance and usability features are often seen to be conflicting goals.
In this comprehensively curated article, we will debunk this myth and discuss sustainable ways to balance compliance and website usability.
Table of Contents:
- What is Website Usability?
- Why is Website Usability Important?
- What is Website Compliance?
- Why is Website Compliance Important?
- Five Tips to Balance Compliance and Website Usability
- Wrapping Up
What is Website Usability?
Website usability is the ease and convenience with which users can navigate a website and access information. It is a very critical element of web design and user experience because an unresponsive and complex website can discourage users from using it.
To enhance a website’s usability and accessibility, a variety of elements are taken into account. Some of these elements are content readability, mobile responsiveness, search functionality, keyboard navigation, page loading speed, user feedback, etc.
Why is Website Usability Important?
A website with poor user experience will have higher bounce rates and less traffic. To retain visitors and generate leads, it is vital to provide them with an efficient and highly convenient user experience.
Consequently, approximately 73.1% of web developers and designers also believe that non-responsive websites are one major reason why visitors leave the website.
Website usability can also give you the right competitive edge in the crowded marketplace. Furthermore, investing in enhanced usability and mobile responsiveness might seem like a heavy investment initially, but it will save upfront improvement costs in the long run.
What is Website Compliance?
Website compliance is an ongoing process of ensuring the website strictly adheres to the legal requirements, WCAG guidelines, and standards. Failure to adhere to these requirements can result in legal fines and penalties.
These can also lead to customer distrust and reputation damage in the competitive market. Website compliance laws are put into place to protect the privacy of the users as well as provide them with the right functionalities to access and edit their data.
Another reason for website compliance is to adhere to accessibility guidelines and provide everyone with an inclusive experience irrespective of age, gender, nationality, location, and disability.
Why is Website Compliance Important?
Adhering to the website compliance checklist is an ethical responsibility of all web developers, designers, and business owners. It not only protects the website owner from legal troubles but also goes a long way in carving a reliable and reputable space in the constantly changing digital landscape.
There are a plethora of other benefits of website compliance, like global accessibility, user confidence, reduced liabilities, higher search engine rankings, adaptability to change, cost savings, etc.
As a developer and web designer, you can refer to the WCAG compliance checker in the initial stages of development to ensure robust website compliance mechanisms are in place. Website ADA compliance, which refers to Americans with disabilities web standards, also offers exhaustive protocols to check website compliance levels.
Five Tips to Balance Compliance and Website Usability
1. Educate Your Team
It is almost impossible to achieve your compliance and usability goals as a one-person army. It is crucial to engage all your teams at the right stage and facilitate smooth communication between them.
A collaborative effort between the designers and the legal team will help you find the right balance between compliance and website usability. A well-educated and informed will also be able to take proactive risk mitigation strategies in case of compliance and security issues.
During data breaches and security vulnerabilities, quick action goes a long way in reducing the damage and potential setbacks.
2. Regularly Conduct Audits and Tests
Website auditing and usability testing is the process of regularly inspecting your website for any security issues and identifying other usability gaps. Maintaining a regular schedule to test web accessibility will optimize the website performance and allow you to implement user-centered improvements for the website.
Regular auditing and testing also allow progress tracking in expanding compliance and usability over time. If you are working with investors and other stakeholders, you can also utilize auditing reports to show you are actively working towards enhancing website performance and growth.
3. Streamline Consent Mechanisms
Websites and all other online platforms must adhere to robust consent mechanisms before collecting and analyzing user information. This offers the user an opportunity to agree or disagree with providing their information.
A streamlined consent mechanism will foster trust between you and your customers, along with allowing you to comply with data protection laws.
It is also important to design user-friendly consent mechanisms in the form of two-step verification, checkboxes, cookie consent banners, age verification, etc. Accessibility considerations need to be designed effectively for users with disabilities.
4. Prioritize Accessibility
Prioritizing accessibility and its various benefits will go a long way in providing enhanced user satisfaction along with complying with legal guidelines. Web standards of accessibility automatically make the website more inclusive, thus expanding the target customer base to engage with.
Approximately 42% of people with disabilities already believe that web accessibility has not improved much over the years, which makes this an important issue to be addressed. Additionally, Google also considers accessibility when ranking websites, which can then improve your search engine ranking.
Some more benefits of accessibility, along with balancing compliance and usability, are mitigating legal risks, fostering a positive brand image, future-proofing the website, avoiding costly retrofits, and more.
5. Understand Your Legal Requirements
A lot of hard work goes into designing a website, due to which sometimes legal requirements take a back seat. However, an in-depth understanding of legal requirements is a very important step towards striking the right balance between compliance and usability.
Each region and industry has its specific web compliance requirements. Remember to understand these in detail to maintain an industry and location-specific compliance level.
For instance, America has specified Website compliance with ADA requirements. If you are an international website, you will be required to adhere to multiple legal requirements and undertake more enhanced usability features of a website.
By following these five tips mentioned above, you will be able to strike the right balance between your legal responsibilities and user satisfaction. It can seem to be daunting, but with the right collaborative approach and research, you can create a user-friendly and legally protected web space for you and your customers.
If you need help with the same, you can reach out to us at HurixDigital. We can take care of all your legal responsibilities and usability needs. We have a trusted client base globally, and you can be our next customer.