Before I go on, I would like to apologise to any who may be offended by what might seem like an article that appears to suggest that financial gain is the only reason that businesses should take web accessibility seriously. I assure you that this is not my intention, as I am extremely passionate about Web Accessibility. However, in the sad state of the society in which we live, many companies are not concerned about their discrimination against the minority who can’t access the web easily.

So, in this article I am trying to convince them to see the benefits of Web Accessibility by explaining it in terms that will interest them. How it could affect them financially. Money talks, and I hope that they will listen to what I have to say. Who knows, maybe someone will take an active interest after reading this and do great things for web accessibility?

What is Web Accessibility?

There’s nothing to fear – it’s really quite painless…

Web Accessibility is a subject that has been discussed for a long time, but the pace at which we’re following it is still too slow, despite a number of court cases that were settled out of court.

Many clients do not know about it so aren’t pushing their developers to pursue it, which suits the developers, as they aren’t knowledgeable enough and are perhaps too happy to not to look into it. This may be because there are a few untruths about what an accessible site is, and they don’t like the sound of it. Mainly they hear myths like “an accessible site has to be plain text”, and they are quickly put off. This isn’t the case, a plain text site is a last resort, not the only option.

Who does it affect?

Go on, guess!

You’ll be surprised to hear the answer is EVERYONE! There are many people who suffer from poor web accessibility. The more obvious group would be those with disabilities, such as hearing difficulties, sight, and motor-impaired, but it can also affect the colour-blind, those with mental difficulties, learning difficulties, the illiterate, and old age. When you consider the amount of people in the world that could fall under any of these categories, that’s a large percentage of a potential audience.

And if that isn’t enough to persuade you, how about improving the service for those who aren’t considered part of the aforementioned groups? Now we’re talking about improving the site for everyone! Interested yet?

By embracing web accessibility your company benefits from:

  • Increased market share due to more users being able to view and navigate your site.
  • Improved public image of your company, perhaps with a press release telling the world how socially responsible you are.
  • Owning a more effective website for ALL of your visitors.
  • Avoiding potentially nasty legal issues that could come your way, with the financial and public image costs that would be damaged because of it.
  • Reducing website maintenance costs in the long term because the website is easier to update and move with any future technology changes that could benefit your website and company.

This sounds like a pretty good ROI (Return on Investment) for a relatively small amount of work in the short term.

What Next?

You probably want to know how accessible your site is right now and what can be improved. In part 2 of this article I’ll identify a handful of common issues, and how they would bring wider benefits if your agency fixed them. Compare the list to your current site, and then find out why your agency isn’t helping you to improve on those areas.