Sure accessibility guidelines are designed to help people with disabilities access the web, but it extends to more than just them. I am talking about the elderly, people with low literacy or little fluency in the language the site is made, people that have dial-up or a low bandwidth connection, and even new or infrequent web users.
Let me illustrate exactly how web accessibility will improve the user experience:
- Elderly people might have a deteriorating eyesight and will need to make the text bigger. So avoid having fixed font size.
- Low literacy or little fluency in a language can ultimately alienate the user if the there’s too many words or if the text is too complex. Obviously you have to consider your target audience, but this is still worth considering as low literacy can be improved over time.
- Believe it or not, some users still have dial-up and low bandwidth is still a norm in most developing countries so it only makes sense to minimize your site’s size by separating content and layout, provide alternatives to images or non-textual content (some users might want to turn off the images) and make sure that if your CSS is turned off that your content is still ordered in a logical way.
- Having a consistent structure and a clear navigation throughout your site will make it easier for anyone, including first timers, to find their way around your site. A good way to improve usability is to have a site plan, especially for larger sites.
So you see that web accessibility is for a lot of different people. Including them will certainly not hurt.