Three Simple Reasons Why Accessibility Matters to Your Business
March 22, 2020 - By Jamie Trueblood
Accessibility is an increasingly popular topic amongst web design and development circles—and for good reason. At a high level, accessibility is about making your site, your app, your product usable to everyone. Yes, that includes people with auditory, cognitive, neurological, physical, speech or visual disabilities, but it also includes those without. (Think the elderly, someone with a broken hand that will eventually heal, rural users with slow connections.) Software developer, Isaac Zepada, says it best:
Now it’s easy to picture a business owner hearing that and thinking, “That’s all well and good, but it doesn’t apply to my customers. I’m not going to invest in something that doesn’t impact my bottom line.”
That picture, however, is wrong.
Whether you think so or not, accessibility matters to your business. Here’s why…
Google “web accessibility lawsuits.”
Top result? eSSENTIAL ACCESSIBILITY: “A 2018 analysis by international legal firm Seyfarth Shaw, the number of federal lawsuits filed in response to web inaccessibility was almost three times higher than the year before – it spiked from 814 to 2,258!”
Second result? The National Law Review: “When Good Sites Go Bad: The Growing Risk of Website Accessibility Litigation.”
Still on the first SERP? Fortune Magazine says you can be like Queen B: Beyoncé Was Sued Over Her Website Violating the Americans With Disabilities Act. And You Could Be Too.
The point is this: The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) says that services available to the public can’t exclude those with disabilities. And while the law doesn’t explicitly talk about the internet, it is “broad enough that the U.S. Department of Justice has concluded that the lack of accessibility for websites may be a violation of the ADA.”
When you invest in accessibility you’re protecting yourself from potential legal action. (NOTE: We are not lawyers. This is not legal advice.)
Amongst 200 other ranking factors, Google values accessibility. Sites that don’t meet accessibility standards will get dinged. If search matters to your business, accessibility matters to your business. There’s really not much more to say.
It’s What’s Right
We praise companies that reduce their carbon footprint, improve working conditions, invest in local communities and generally practice good corporate citizenship. We praise these actions because they are right. Adhering to accessibility standards should be no different. (In fact, it’s probably easier to get your website up to snuff than it is to do those other things.)
Companies should follow accessibility best practices for all the reasons we’ve discussed, but if for no other reason, they should do it because it helps people. As more and more of our daily life gets powered by the internet, being part of the effort that ensures that everyone can benefit is the right thing to do.