Accessibility may be something you have felt reluctant to address because you regarded it as a cost. In this post, I set out to demonstrate that is in fact an investment that can bring you verifiable returns.
Of course, making your content accessible is the right thing to do, it promotes inclusivity and it is a legal requirement under the Equality Act 2010. However, ensuring your digital content is accessible is not only good for your potential disabled visitors/service users, it is also good for your business/organisation. It gets you more clients/customers/service users, makes your content will be easier and it strengthens your brand.
“…embracing accessibility leads to multiple benefits – reducing legal risks, strengthening brand presence, improving customer experience and colleague productivity.” Paul Smyth, Head of Digital Accessibility, Barclays
Disabled people make up a considerable proportion of the UK population. For example, 18% of people in the UK identify as disabled, which represents Over 4 million people. So, ensuring your content is accessible means these people are more likely to use your services, visit your website and download your documents. According to SCOPE, families with at least 1 disabled person spend an estimated £274 billion a year: if you ensure your content is accessible they are more likely to be directing their money towards your business or organisation rather than someone else’s.
Crucially, for the robustness of your brand, it is useful to know that disabled people are more likely to notice and report accessibility issues when they come across them.
“Disabled people were more likely to report finding access to products in person difficult compared with non-disabled people (41.6% compared with 15.8%)” Disabled people’s access to products and services, Great Britain: February to March 2022
I said earlier that your legal obligations is only one reason you should ensure your content is accessible. However, that being said, the last thing you want is for someone to pull you up because they can’t access your content, or worse, to make a public issue of it, or even worse, to take legal action against you. I don’t think that is likely, however, it is somewhere on is the line that goes from things that are bad for your business to things that are good for your business. So, you might as well take steps to remove the potential risk.
The Inclusive Design Toolkit created by the Inclusive Design Research Centre includes case studies, research papers, and examples that illustrate how accessibility features benefit a wide range of users.
Accessible digital design will benefit your SEO: . The ‘accessibility checker’ websites carried out research on the topic and concluded, ‘Our analysis revealed a 12% average increase in overall traffic across the domains examined.
Accessible design gives you a competitive advantage, makes your content more flexible, in the ways it can be reformatted and it future proofs your content – simply because if you are creating accessible content, that means that you are following robust markup standards.