Why It Makes Sense (and Cents) to Incorporate Accessibility Best Practices
November 11th, 2021
I have heard that some organizations have the sense that it’s not their users who are disabled. Others are focused on the legal obligations and the fear of having a suit filed against them. Well-intended stakeholders can be misinformed, and it may just feel like it’s not of enough value to the company to make the effort to be accessible on top of everything else they’re juggling. In these challenging times, some companies may feel as if they are choosing between a salary and additional website features. And that’s the catch… accessibility is often looked at as a feature and not a part of the standardized user experience.
The fact is, disabled users are consumers too. And they are not searching for charity, they’re looking to be respected and accounted for as a valuable member of your target market. Let’s take a look at a few figures to help organizations and their stakeholders put it all into perspective.
- The UK music industry loses 2.5 million ticket sales per year due to inaccessible booking sites. - CXL
- US consumers with vision loss have an estimated $175 billion of disposable income. - CXL
- AbilityNet say that ecommerce is losing out £50 billion a year in UK spending power due to poor accessibility. - CXL
- This combined [disabled] community holds a disposable annual income of $8 trillion – an opportunity business cannot continue to afford to ignore. - Time Magazine
- Search engines drive 93% of all website traffic. - Konstruct Digital (and search engine robots do not see or hear our content and only “use keyboard” navigation)
Accessibility Statistics About Your Target Market
Some Stats about Disabilities to Know:
- 26% of US adults identify as disabled - CDC
- 1 in 5 American are dyslexic - CDC
- 2 in 5 Americans over 65 identify as disabled - CDC
- ADHD affects approximately 3% of the US adult population aged 15+ (as opposed to 4.1% of children aged 0-14 year)
- Approximately 15% of American adults (37.5 million) aged 18 and over report some trouble hearing
- 2% of adults aged 45 to 54 have disabling hearing loss
- Approximately 12 million people 40 years and over in the United States have vision impairment, including 1 million who are blind, 3 million who have vision impairment after correction, and 8 million who have vision impairment due to uncorrected refractive error.
- Vision disability is one of the top 10 disabilities among adults 18 years and older and one of the most prevalent disabling conditions among children.
And the list goes on and on. There are millions of people that may view your organization’s website on a given day and a large number of them identify as disabled. As active members of society and the consumer market, they are already your target market.
Where to Start
When you start incorporating disabled users into your existing personas, you can then target your market more specifically to see where you can lean in and better account for your needs. For example, if you’re in higher education you’ll want to reduce distractions with the increased number of youth being identified as ADD, ADHD, and/or on the Autism Spectrum. If you’re working with older adults, you’ll want to allow for larger text and pay extra attention to the zoomed in experience. You’ll also want to avoid auto-playing content as it has been known to disorient individuals in the earlier stages of Alzheimer's disease. In all of these cases, the individuals are active participants in their own lives and with your content - you just need to respect them enough to account for their needs more than go with what looks cool to a given department. Learn how to build accessibility into your everyday procedures.
Empower Users to Grow Your Brand
The truth of it is that we are all temporarily-abled beings with a lot to offer and as many different ways to take in and share information as there are individuals. By taking ownership of your power to bake accessibility into the projects you’re working on - from the first step onward - you’re helping the market you’re already trying to reach to engage with you. Accessibility is not about avoiding lawsuits or quieting a voice.
Looking at accessibility from the business perspective of reaching 20% of your target market shows how it makes sense (and cents) to operationalize accessibility. At the end of the day, it’s about empowering people to engage with your brand and help your organization take it to the next level.