The Web is an important and ever-expanding asset in our lives. We use it for education, employment, commerce, recreation, and health care purposes. And this list increases with every second. So is crucial to provide equal access and opportunities for every single Web user. Accessibility barriers are easy to overcome with today’s technology and often overlap with other practices used to boost traffic, and customer experiences, such as search optimization (SEO), web design, and usability.
Closely considering your accessibility for people with disabilities is also important from a financial point of view. In many cases, organizations that have failed to provide universal access have been heavily fined by governments and civil litigations for noncompliance. To be sure your website meets the required guidelines, you can check the ADA Compliant Website Checklist. Let’s go over five costly risks to face, should you choose to ignore web accessibility requirements.
In a year, when 30% of people between the ages of 16 and 64 consider themselves to have some sort of disability, brands who willfully ignore their needs are likely to suffer a smeared brand reputation. When users go to a web page only to find forms with blank spaces, the information that gets delivered is that the website owner doesn’t care about their customer’s needs. And as more and more people with physical limitations gain government, public, and media representation – be sure to make your content fully accessible.
If not, you might deal with a reputation crisis, which could result in a decrease in your company’s assets due to having to hire a crisis PR team to deal with the brand damage.
Researchers found that if website content lacks digital accessibility, 68% of customers will quickly “click away.” Instead of spending their money on your products and services, they will go to a competitor’s website that is easy to access and inclusive. By choosing to exclude a part of your potential audience, you agree to miss many market and revenue-boosting opportunities.
So be sure to erase accessibility barriers from your audio and visual media content to give your business a competitive edge. Brands that value all of their customers, including individuals with disabilities, are sure to get recognition and are the first to win customers over.
Lawsuits and Legal Problems
Many companies decide to find pricey solutions instead of preventing the damage at an early stage. Try to install an understanding of website accessibility standards in your webmasters’ team from the very start. It will spare you the need to hire a team of lawyers to deal with legal claims and governmental fines. Although there is no official set of website accessibility standards set by the Department of Justice in the US, there are numerous laws prohibiting disability discrimination.
Instead of applying a patchwork solution, choosing which legal laws to follow, and finding legislation loopholes, research how accessibility laws vary by country. Don’t let your brand face sizable legal and financial penalties over accessibility issues. It will endanger not only your finances but also create negative representation for your brand in the media and business field.
Lack of Diversity
Diversity is one of the most substantial assets to any organization’s infrastructure. The job market is full of individuals on a spectrum of different disabilities and ages. And as most employment processes take place online, digital accessibility is vital. For that reason, it is essential to hire website professionals with excellent expertise in accessibility standards. That and in-house training will ensure that no skilled and qualified candidates with disabilities acquire any accessibility issues during the application process.
A massive hidden risk of inaccessible websites is that they make your organization look extremely unreliable. There is no chance of significant improvements, both in the sales and human resources sector, when most of a company’s revenue is carefully set aside in case any major lawsuit emerges, And as much as people would like to keep companies’ policies behind closed doors – insolvency is a significant deterrent for customers, applicants, and stakeholders.
Web Accessibility Is a Business Strategy
As with any business strategy – it should be comprehensive and go beyond the average. Most organizations do the bare minimum to meet ADA and WCAG 2.1 AA standards, which leaves a world of lost opportunities. By deep understanding of your target audience’s disabilities, whether they are intellectual, health, or vision impairments, and active education of your co-workers, you give your brand a chance to increase revenue, traffic and boost customer satisfaction. You can always check whether your website is an ADA & WCAG compliant. There are various tools available for the same. For a better and most accurate result, we’d recommend you to use the free AUDIT tool from Accessibility Spark. Accessibility Spark is a Shopify application that offers various accessibility solutions for your website, making it accessible for everyone. It’ll also help you to improve user interface and website design for the people with disabilities.
Without a focus on web accessibility, not only will your digital presence and click-rate decrease, but you will endanger the company financially. So go by the rule that nothing goes unnoticed on the internet and in the business world. Disability rights activists will be sure to speak up about any inaccessibility guidelines violations found. Ensure full and unrestrained access not to fall victim to the hidden risks of an inaccessible website.