One of the questions we are commonly asked is, “why should I make my website accessible”? It is a great question and we wanted to take the time to help you become a believer! Below are the top 5 reasons to make your website accessible:
1. Increase your audience and potential customer base
While it would be great if we lived in a wholly altruistic world where money was no object for businesses, that is not the reality of the business world. However, while making your website accessible may have some upfront costs, there is absolutely a positive business case for making the jump.
It is estimated that one in four people in the United States have a disability. That is 61 million adults! If your company operates at the global level, the number is even more staggering. Needless to say, accommodating the disabilities of those 61 million adults increases your potential market by 25%, right off the bat.
2. Decrease risk of litigation and negative publicity
If your company is subject to Title III of the Americans with Disabilities Act, making your website accessible and ADA compliant is a legal requirement. Failure to do so places your company at considerable risk of civil suit.
In 2019, there were approximately 2,200+ civil ADA lawsuits filed, specifically for website accessibility issues. Of those 2,200, approximately 21% were sued multiple times. These numbers do not take into account the significantly higher amount of companies who receive demand letters and settle without suit being filed. The costs of settling an ADA suit can cost tens of thousands of dollars, and if litigation ensues, upwards of hundreds of thousands of dollars.
Less tangibly, the press associated with public civil litigation in a federal court is less than desirable from a publicity perspective. Do you really want your company’s reputation being publicly called into question?
3. Competitive Advantage
Making your website accessible is a competitive differentiator and/or equalizer. Not only do you increase the market share listed in #1 above, but you also have a marketable differentiator when compared to your competitors. In the case where your competitors are already accessible, you now have equalized your competitiveness and mitigated their edge.
4. Demonstrate Social Responsibility and Inclusiveness
Although item #1 outlines the business case for making your website accessible, you may still be unconvinced. If the increase in market audience is not compelling, try to re-frame your perspective into one of inclusiveness and being socially responsible. Make your website accessible because it is the right thing to do, even if you may not benefit from it monetarily.
5. Search Engine Optimization and Page Ranking
Following accessibility best practices may improve your search engine optimization and page ranking. Accessibility guidelines require many of the same development practices that search engines require when determining page ranking. Some of these features include, but are not limited to:
- Use of proper headings
- Semantically correct HTML
- Logical content ordering
- Availability of a site map
- Proper titles on pages
- Alt tags on images
- And more…
In addition to the above, there is suspicion that Google already has included, or plans to include, accessibility into their page ranking algorithm. It makes logical sense that if they have not already, they will do so in the future. In other words, making your website accessible helps to future proof your existing page ranking. The benefits of making your website accessible should be clear at this point.
If you are ready to make your website accessible, we highly suggest using experienced accessibility consultants, such as TestPros. TestPros offers full life-cycle services for Section 508 compliance, to include but not limited to: initial accessibility assessments / gap analyses, accessibility regression testing, integration of automated testing solutions in CI/CD pipelines, remediation of non-compliant software, and training. To learn more about our Section 508 services, contact us or check out our services page!