Why Your Website Should Be Accessible to Everyone

Beyoncé, Winn-Dixie, and Hooters are members of a group no business wants to join. They’ve each been sued by someone claiming their website is inaccessible. Will your website be next?

Digital Business Matters

The impact of the digital world on our daily lives and business is a well-worn trope. But the way it has become so ingrained into our daily lives never ceases to amaze me. Bazaarvoice’s 2018 survey revealed 82% of smartphone users are doing online research for their in-store purchases. That’s right, even with the products in front of them, shoppers rely on their digital link to determine what to buy. Your website is more crucial to your bottom line than your brick-and-mortar store. So I have to wonder, why are smart business owners turning away a potential customer audience of 56.7 million Americans?

1 in 5 Matter

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, nearly 1 in 5 people have a visual, physical, hearing, cognitive or other impairment. What does that mean for a website that isn’t accessible according to WCAG 2.0 and 2.1 guidelines? Well, you are essentially  turning away potential customers because of bad design, poor coding, and a refusal to consider the needs of those who require assistive technology.

Website Accessibility 2019 Matters

The U.S. Department of Justice (DoJ) has been working on regulations regarding website accessibility, among other issues, since 2010. But in December 2017, the DoJ announced it was “evaluating whether promulgating regulations about the accessibility of Web information and services is necessary and appropriate.” While the Division of Civil Rights may no longer be working on website accessibility rules, members of the legal profession acknowledges there may be no need for them. A New Hampshire judge’s court order in a 2017 decision involving Blue Apron noted:

“In a society in which business is increasingly conducted online, excluding businesses that sell services through the Internet from the ADA would ‘run afoul of the purposes of the ADA’” in that it would prevent “‘individuals with disabilities [from] fully enjoy[ing] the goods, services, privileges and advantages, available indiscriminately to other members of the general public.’”

Accessibility Matters

So I have to ask, are you certain your website is accessible? Does it meet the 26 criteria in the Title II checklist and the 68 criteria of the Section 508 HTML checklist? Can you really afford to ignore 56.7 million potential customers? If you’re ready to start thinking about your website’s accessibility before your legal team insists you must, email me. Let’s get started on an accessibility review. Let’s make sure all of your customers get everything from your site they need.

Harris Quinn – Chief Client Officer

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