Are accessibility features just for users who identify as having a disability?

    By Amy Montague, Tuesday 18 June 2019

    It’s been just under a month since we celebrated Global Accessibility Awareness Day and since then, the wheels are beginning to turn as companies become more aware of accessibility and how it affects their business. One of the biggest misinterpretations about accessibility is that it is only required for the one billion people in the world who identify as experiencing a form of disability - be it auditory, cognitive or visual.

    This simply isn’t true.

    In our lifetime almost 90% of the general public with internet access will require access to accessibility features, regardless of any previous or continuous long-term factors.

    Why?

    Because everyone from your grandparents, whose sight may be failing them, to the boy who fell out a tree and broke his wrist, or the commuter on a train watching a YouTube video, all need accessible features. In these examples, text resizing, keyboard navigation and captions are required to provide these potential customers with high-quality user experiences, and the ability to complete customer journeys. After all, positive UX leads to an increased conversion rate.

    Senior woman using a Kindle

    Move away from the perception that accessibility features are just for those who identify as having a disability and suddenly you are faced with a great big black hole in your development and UX strategy. You should be providing your customers with personalised and easy-to-use online experiences. But instead, you are disregarding a huge chunk of potential customers, just because you don’t have accessibility features which can be easily integrated.

    In the UK, 1 in 5 people identify as having a disability and altogether have the spending power (or purple pound) of £250 billion, not including all the people who use accessibility features for small intervals during their life. With new legal requirements coming into play, UK companies have begun introducing the bare minimum options, which are set live without any extensive testing or analysis. It’s a faulty and costly way of approaching accessibility, given the large potential audience and revenue up for grabs.

    71% of disabled customers with accessibility needs will abandon a website when they find it too difficult to use.

    Source

    Knowing how to cater to your audience and how to ensure that every customer receives a positive user experience, with flowing customer journeys, requires a bit more thought than just adding new functionalities and hoping they work. The best way to cater to your audience is to use your audience. Or specifically, use an audience of real-world accessibility experts to thoroughly test your website. The experts will be able to identify and suggest improvements for your internal teams to use and develop.

    Most accessibility testing companies will push back timelines and demand more resources simply because they don’t really know what they are looking for. Whereas actual experts will be able to produce a complete accessibility test within 3 days, with all results categorised and authenticated. 

    Amy Montague

    Amy Montague

    As one of the Marketing Executives for Digivante, Amy provides and reviews most of the copy and visual content for Digivante. Amy has a natural flair for the creative and introduces aspect into her marketing role.

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