In today’s era of internet and web, almost all business has been moved to digital platform. So, it became important for all the organizations to make sure that their products and services are accessible to maximum possible customers or users irrespective of the person’s abilities to interact with the system or product.
In this blog post, we will get to know about digital accessibility and how it can help organizations to grow and become valuable and inclusive within the market.
What is Digital Accessibility?
Digital Accessibility refers to the universal design of websites, software, mobile applications, electronic devices and electronic documents so that it can be easily and equally used by a wide range of users including person with various disabilities (visual, auditory, motor, cognitive etc.)
A research of Fortune 100 companies shows that disability inclusion as part of overall diversity and inclusion strategy, is common practice among the top successful companies.
Benefits of Accessibility for Business and Organizations
- Accessibility drives innovation: Implementing accessibility can help overcome digital, social and architectural barriers and can also lead to innovation. If we think of innovations like, typewriter, telephone, punch cards, text to speech, email, voice control, driver less car, these all were invented to meet the requirements of those with disability, which later became so popular and useful that it found a much broader application and users.
- Accessibility improves perception of people: If an organization is committed to accessibility, it shows that they really care and dedicated to the idea of equal opportunity and fairness.
- Accessibility creates brand value for business: Organization’s commitment to accessibility shows the genuine sense of Corporate Social responsibility (CSR) which can result in enhanced brand image and reputation, customer loyalty, improved workforce diversity, increased sales etc.
- Accessibility increase Market reach and customer Base: According to world Health Organization (WHO), at least 15% of world’s population have some kind of recognized disability. The market of people with disabilities is large and growing and it is making the global estimate of disability market around $7 trillion.
- Accessibility improves SEO: Accessible contents and search engine optimized content both are quite similar and machine readable. Ensuring accessibility of websites or web applications will also improve SEO and will help users in finding the websites easily over internet making it quickly reachable to the intended audience.
- Accessibility increases compatibility: Accessibility allows users to use the digital product with wider variety of devices and user agents making it more robust and compatible.
- Accessibility helps you avoid lawsuits and minimize legal risk: Over time, legal risk for organizations have been increased with the adoptions of more specific accessibility laws (like, ADA, US Section 508, EN 301 549, AODA, etc.) and various policies throughout the world. With alarming increase in lawsuits, global businesses are creating accessibility polices and programs to avoid risk to protect both their assets and reputations.
Organizational Management for Accessibility
To implement, address, and support accessibility, organization should have plan to manage, govern and enforce accessibility and its best practices. Accessibility should start from planning and design phase itself and it should be taken into consideration in each phase of software life cycle development. Commitment and awareness for accessibility will help to create an inclusive and diverse culture within the organization and can help organization avoid the expensive and legal consequences of accessibility failure and be successful.
Business that integrate accessibility in their overall strategy and process are more likely to be innovative, inclusive enterprises that reach more people with positive brand messaging and also meets emerging global legal requirements.
For more information on Accessibility you can always refer to: https://www.w3.org/standards/webdesign/accessibility
I hope this would have helped to understand, how critical digital accessibility is from business point of view.