Posted on 05/08/2018 at 12:00 AM
In December, the Department of Justice withdrew proposed laws to enforce accessible websites for State & Local Government (Title II) and All Others (Title III), stating that, “more time was needed to assess whether specific technical standards are necessary and appropriate to assist covered entities with complying with the ADA.” Since this announcement, there has been little movement, leaving virtually all website owners in a state of limbo as far as whether or not to allocate time and resources to the accessibility of their website.
Even though there are still no concrete laws in place, lawsuits continue to occur. Website accessibility should remain a topic that businesses include more seriously in their conversations because, beyond the legal side of this issue, we believe accessibility serves everyone’s best interests. Here’s why you shouldn’t wait for the law to move your website toward accessibility:
An Accessible Website Makes Life Easier for People
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), “About 15% of the world's population lives with some form of disability, of whom 2-4% experience significant difficulties in functioning.”
The bottom line is that millions of people are impacted by disability, and they will likely require assistance when it comes to browsing the internet.
Keep in mind that 15% of the World’s population is actually a very large number. On top of that, this statistic only accounts for those with a permanent disability. It does not consider those with temporary disabilities, like a broken arm, or temporary vision loss. Think about all the scenarios where an injury may temporarily impact how you go about your day to day tasks, including browsing the web! These people also benefit greatly from website accessibility tools, and even if they won’t use these tools forever, they’ll be grateful that the option is there when they need it.
An Accessible Website Can Mean More Business
Now that we’ve established that 15% of the World’s population is actually a pretty large audience, let’s think about that in terms of sales. Without an accessible website, you are unable to serve those impacted by disability, which means that you are limiting your potential sales by limiting your audience. Disability or not, people who are interested in what you provide will try to find you online. If they can’t access your website with ease, they’ll look somewhere else.
It Helps Influence a Positive Public Opinion about Your Brand
Having an accessible website communicates that you are considerate of other’s needs. While ignoring accessibility can open your company up to lawsuits, it also opens you up to the negative press that comes with the territory. Accessibility lawsuits tend to cause public opinion about your brand to falter, as people may begin to think that accessibility is something you just don’t care about.
And while lawsuits are costly, you also stand to lose an awful lot of business if people are off put by the fact that you don’t take an inclusive approach to your web presence. These people may just decide to take their business elsewhere.
On the other hand, providing accommodation to users with disabilities will enhance your reputation and cultivate loyal followers of your brand.
It’s Really Just the Right Thing to Do
If your website fails to make accessibility a priority, some people won’t be able to use it, which really isn’t fair. Being inclusive is not just an important part of business, but it’s an important part of life – an important part of human to human interaction. There is so much potential to bring more independence to the lives of those with disabilities through website accessibility. While making your website accessible will help you to earn and retain customers, more importantly, it simply helps people out. It’s the right thing to do.