Our small, family-owned business participated in a Business Expo this week. Our focus was primarily on Website Accessibility. Our intent was two-fold. One to inform people on the need for and benefits of making their business website accessible (to those with disabilities). Second to promote our services that can help businesses improve their websites accessibility.
We ended up learning as much as we informed. Over half the people we spoke with either did not know what accessibility (in a digital sense) means or did not understand the value of it. I even heard a person state “website accessibility” in a derogatory tone and then smirk. Really? With New York leading by far, according to a SEYFORTH SHAW article, the number of accessibility lawsuits, we were a bit surprised how few understood. So there’s plenty of opportunity for improvement.
It’s not surprising that with so many new business regulations and hyped up things like Artificial Intelligence (AI) our attention gets numbed. Yet there are some things that are not only the right thing to do, but also good for business!
If you do not agree with the statement “In our digital world every person should have an equal opportunity to experience and contribute without barriers.” Then let me give you some time back in your day – stop reading.
OK, so you’re curious how digital accessibility is good for business? Making your business digitally accessible to those with disabilities is good for business in at least three ways. You will expand your market reach. You will increase sales by improving your customers’ experience. You will participate in increasing the capacity of the workforce.
This is an opportunity to expand your market reach. According to The Annual Statistics Disability Compendium over thirty-eight million people in the US, or 12.7%, have some sort of disability. A Pew Research report states that “Disabled Americans are less likely to use technology”. The report goes on to say that technology such as AI and screen readers are making the digital experience more accessible to disabled Americans. Making your website (and mobile apps) accessible opens the opportunity to engage with 13% of the market you may not be reaching today.
By improving your customers’ experience you can increase sales. A recent study of 100,000 online shoppers conducted by Bizrate Insight states “The number one mobile pain point that one-third of all online shoppers cited was the need to constantly enlarge their screen in order to click the right thing.” Websites and mobile apps share this problem. And the commonly accepted Web Content & Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) can be used as a roadmap to eliminate this and other issues to improve your customer experience. A recent econsultancy blog referenced statistics that “79% of consumers rate experience as equally important to the actual product or service in a purchasing decision.” So using the WCAG guidelines to make your website more accessible also improves every customers’ experience!
Is your business struggling to find talent, and people motivated to work? If so, there is good news. Our digital world presents some challenges but also presents opportunities. Technology provides tools that can enable an expanded workforce. As stated on DO-IT website “By using computing technology for tasks such as reading and writing documents, communicating with others, and searching for information on the Internet, students and employees with disabilities are capable of handling a wider range of activities independently.” Businesses use digital processes to operate their business, just as consumers interact with businesses digitally. As businesses improve their digital accessibility that helps to enable people with disabilities to be capable to work for your business. That’s a large increase in available workers!
To summarize, digital accessibility needs to be understood by all businesses. It’s not only the right thing to do but is good for business. You can expand your market reach, increase sales, and enable more workers. If you’d like to take the first step to making your website more accessible sign up for a professional audit.