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Building Support is Critical

Embracing accessibility is not only the right thing to do, its also a legal imperative. However, many champions find that there’s still a challenge in justifying the investment and urgency for a comprehensive and sustainable accessibility initiative with lasting impact. Below is a brief summary of the risks, benefits, and the impact accessibility can have across a range of broader business goals and functional areas that are critical to all organizations. Access the eBook for more information.

Download the Business Case for Accessibility eBook

A diverse group of people engage with accessibility compliant devices
people with disabilities testing website

Increase Market Share

Accessible sites are generally more usable to everyone – including people with disabilities, older people, people with low literacy, people who are not fluent in the language of the site, people with low bandwidth connections to the internet, people with older technologies, and new and infrequent web users – thus increasing the market segments and number of people who can successfully use the site. Increased usability means users achieve their goals more effectively, efficiently, and satisfactorily. When users have a positive experience they are more likely to use the site or application more thoroughly, return more often, and share their experience with others.

Worldwide, over 650 million people have a disability with some estimates as high as one billion or around 15% of the global population. In the United States alone, the estimated 64 million disabled persons have a purchasing power of 175 billion dollars.

According to the article, “How the Internet Is Improving the Lives of Americans with Disabilities,” these users spend more time logged on and surfing the internet than non-disabled users. On average, they spend 20 hours per week online. This population is a significant and growing market, says the National Organization on Disability – and they are turning to the internet to shop.

An accessible site can be an opening to a greater market share which includes those in the broader disabilities community. Organizations should also factor in people who use older devices, have slower internet connections, as mobile devices. All of these user segments can benefit from web pages with image alternatives, structural markup, proper linearization, and so on. Improving the accessibility and usability of sites will enhance the user experience for all users and improve customer acquisition, satisfaction, and loyalty.

Manage Legal Risk

Complaints against organizations (as a service provider or product vendor) relate to discrimination in the provision of services and anti-discrimination legislation allows for both legal and punitive damages which can be large and severe. The number of cases continue to grow and the related penalties create significant legal risk for organizations today.

For example, the National Federation of the Blind (‘NFB’) brought a lawsuit against the Target Corporation that challenges whether the limitations that the Americans with Disabilities Act (‘ADA’) of 1990 imposes on businesses must also apply to e-commerce websites. The NFB alleged that blind people were unable to access much of the information on Target’s website, or purchase anything from its website independently. The case was then settled for (i) six million dollars in direct damages and (ii) an agreement that Target will make their site compliant with Section 508  and WCAG requirements.

Laptop, mobile phone, and tablet, behind the scales of justice. Laptop screen displays "ADA"
Accessibility logo alongside legal documents, a pen and judge's gavel on top of a mobile device

Access and Grow Public Sector Revenues

Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, as amended, requires that Federal agencies’ Electronic and Information Technology (‘EIT’) be accessible by people with disabilities. Section 508 requires that an agency procure the most Section 508 compliant product currently available on the market. Accessibility is therefore a critical differentiator for many companies selling to the public sector.

Some years ago, Kofax, the world’s largest information capture vendor, and Quality Associates Inc. (‘QAI’), a Kofax Certified Solutions Provider, announced that the Social Security Administration (‘SSA’) awarded a five-year blanket purchase agreement to Kofax in the amount of $20.9 million. QAI worked with SSB BART Group (Level Access’s old name!) and subsequently beat out four or five other solution providers that were bidding on the project. A primary factor in Kofax winning this business was the fact that the company’s platform was customized to make it the most Section 508-compliant solution currently available in the information capture market.

Similarly, Fujitsu Corporation contracted with us to bring a high level of Section 508 compliance to their public sector offerings. This partnership helped Fujitsu obtain a $41 million public sector contract that had previously been awarded to Kodak.

Access the Global Public Sector

It’s not just the United States! Extensive accessibility legislation is present in many nations and markets today including the European Union, Canada, Australia, and Japan. The relevant portions of accessibility legislation require that best efforts be made in order to ensure that physical and electronic business areas can be used by individuals with disabilities.

Organizations that don’t plan for digital accessibility can find themselves shut out of some markets until they are able to share proper documentation or accessibility roadmaps.

picture of the world globe
Graphic with target, conversation bubbles, media icons and like icons representing digital marketing

Protect and Enhance the Brand

The potential negative impact of inaccessibility to an organization or brand is large and unbounded. Brand risk is also tied to the potential for a negative public relations impact due to litigation or complaints being brought against the organization. Inaccessible sites or applications conflict with an organizational branding and public messaging around serving customers and inclusivity. Conversely, proactively embracing accessibility can strengthen brands and help them recognize many benefits while creating stronger bonds with their users. Learn more about how marketers can create accessible digital experiences that are engaging, inclusive, and inspire brand loyalty.

Series of icons representing areas of a website which should be ADA compliant, like shop, chat, support, and product info.

Drive Innovation

By embracing accessibility and inclusive design practices, many organizations are able to reach new innovations as a valuable byproduct. Often times, teams find that by designing with a more diverse group of people in mind they can get better overall creations and new ideas that apply to all users.

Microsoft has found success in recent years thanks to an increased focus on accessibility and has integrated this into their marketing as well (“The Power Of Purpose: How Microsoft Unlocked Inclusivity To Drive Growth And Innovation”). Google has also sought to make an impact on accessibility and found new innovations and ideas because “…the accessibility problems of today are the mainstream breakthroughs of tomorrow.” There are many everyday examples: capabilities like screen magnification, captions, and voice control are in regular use by the general public without people thinking of them as purely ‘accessibility features’.

Download the Making the Business Case for Accessibility eBook to Learn More

Making the Business Case for Accessibility. What you risk when ignoring accessibility and what you gain from embracing it.

Although the risk is clear for organizations, many still find it difficult to secure internal buy-in on accessibility initiatives and establish the right urgency.

Use this eBook as a framework to help you build support for a comprehensive and sustainable accessibility initiative with lasting impact.

Get an overview of the risks, benefits, and impact of accessibility across a range of broader business goals and functional areas which are critical to all organizations.