I love how this article featured in the Big Hack’s blog groups the reasons for businesses to care about accessibility and inclusive design, into opportunities and risks. That got me thinking about relating this to our own conversation we had recently in our webinar about digital accessibility. There are two drivers for inclusive design in your products and services and it boils down to the carrot or the stick. I much prefer the carrot as my motivation and will explain those first. And don’t worry if you prefer the stick, I do have some of that for you too.
Jenny Webster, low-vision consultant and guest on our recent webinar, shared her experiences with using websites and apps.
In one situation Jenny needed the help of her Uber driver to complete a payment in an online banking app. The reason was the buttons had no alt text so the screen reader Jenny uses couldn’t read which was the submit button and which was the cancel button. Imagine that! It really gave us insight into the levels of frustration experienced when trying to do everyday things.
Expand your audience
Making your products and services accessible opens them up to a broader audience. At any point in time about 15% of your clients face barriers to accessing digital information. This does not include those who have limited data and access to smart technology.
Building for the future
As your current audience ages, their requirements in order to use your products and services in the future are going to include design for visual impairment, reduced dexterity and mobility, along with aspects of accessibility too.
Colleagues and team members have accessibility needs too
By including accessibility best practices for your intranet, internal emails, to name a few, it will improve the inclusivity in your workplace.
Be that brand
Jenny is switching banking providers based purely on the accessibility of their app and surrounding services. I am willing to bet she isn’t the only one, and that there are other similar scenarios too. It is that important. Being the brand that champions accessibility will create a loyal fan base.
UX and customer experience
“Accessibility best practise is essential for some but useful for all”
Making things more accessible is really about making them more usable and giving a better user experience. It gives each person equal access to your services.
I am not one for the big stick approach but it could be handy to motivate for companywide change – so here you go…
Regulations and legal implications
In the UK, the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has new requirements, named Consumer Duty, helping to ensure companies deliver good outcomes for all types of customers.
Under the Equality Act 2010, any company can be sued for not giving equal experience to disabled users.
In 2020 there were over 3500 digital accessibility lawsuits rolled out in the US. Along with this, naturally, is reputational damage; your brand suffers from the negative media coverage.
Search for regulations and laws in your country to help build your case.
Technical cost is the cost of going back and fixing something. To avoid this, it will help to review accessibility throughout your product lifecycle. Plan for accessibility needs into your research, design, and code from the outset.
Here is the key takeaway:
Human-centered design is at the core of accessibility, the changes you make — from colour contrast to font sizes — will benefit every person on your list. They’ll all enjoy a more full, rich experience, which ultimately will increase your ROI.
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