7 Reasons Your Organization Needs Accessibility

Many organizations don’t consider accessibility unless it’s a legal requirement with Section 508 or the ADA or until they face a legal problem related to it. But there are so many ways your organization can benefit from making its documents and website accessible. Find out 7 reasons your organization needs accessibility.

1. Good Reputation

You only get one chance to make a first impression.

Accessibility positively affects your organization’s reputation. It says, “We consider the needs of our donors, clients or customers who have a disability.”

But when accessibility is ignored, people with a disability are three times as likely to avoid your organization and twice as likely to dissuade others because of a perceived negative diversity reputation.

And you know how much word of mouth and reviews on Facebook and Google can help or hurt a business.

2. Increased Reach

You reach an additional 15% to 20% of donors, clients, customers or volunteers.

In the United States, that includes a percentage of the:

  • 6.4 million people with a visual disability such as color blindness, macular degeneration, diabetic retinopathy or blindness;
  • 10.5 million people with a hearing disability (deafness or hearing loss);
  • 20.9 million people with an ambulatory disability such as chronic arthritis, lost limb or broken arm; and
  • 14.8 million people with a cognitive disability such as autism or Down syndrome.

When individuals with certain types of disabilities access inaccessible content:

They might not be able to read or access some or all of the content.

They might not be able to access the content in the correct order, which can render the content incomprehensible. They might hear content voiced that shouldn’t be, interrupting the reading order and causing confusion.

In short, your message may get completely lost. Your call to action will be missed.

So if your hope is for them to donate, use your services or buy from you, it may be difficult or impossible for them to do so.

3. Increased Revenue

Accessibility means more revenue.

In the United States, people with disabilities have a total income of almost $873 billion and a disposable income of about $645 billion. Not only that but:

71% of people with a disability leave a website that is not accessible.

They may complain to your organization, but they may just leave and go to a competitor’s site. They may not return to your site.

Consider these situations and how having an inaccessible website could be costing your organization revenue.

A veteran who lost both of his hands uses an assistive device with his computer. He wants to make a donation, but he can’t get to the donation page because the navigation isn’t accessible. If it were, he could use his device or tab through from the keyboard.

A legally blind woman wants to make a donation to an animal rescue but finds it hard to read the small light gray text on the website. She doesn’t use a screen reader so she zooms in on the text in the browser. It’s still too light for her to read. She leaves the site feeling frustrated.

A man with color blindness shops for a gift online. He is unable to make out the hyperlinks to products because to him they don’t look any different than the body text. He leaves and goes to a competitor’s site, where it’s much easier to make a purchase.

4. Save Time and Money

When you address accessibility in the branding or design process, you save time and money.

Addressing accessibility in the branding process is the optimal approach because everything trickles down from there.

Remediating (“making accessible”) a color palette, document or website after the fact often means revisiting the design process, costing you time and money. Remediation often costs several times more than incorporating accessibility into the process from the beginning.

A website audit easily costs a couple to several thousand dollars. Then there is the cost of a developer to fix those issues and the cost of a follow-up audit to make sure changes were made correctly and that no new issues were introduced.

5. Consistent Branding

Incorporating accessibility means consistent visual branding.

When you incorporate accessibility into your visual branding, you’ll have consistent branding that won’t have to be adjusted later.

During the remediation process, colors may need to be modified, new ones added or the design modified in order to use the colors accessibly. This can lead to inconsistency if you modify a single document or just your website but not your brand color palette.

Inconsistent branding can lead to confusion or distrust with your audience and lack of recognition of your branding.

6. Competitive Edge

Accessibility gives your organization a competitive edge.

It’s likely that most of your competitors are not addressing accessibility. Incorporating it into your brand (strategic plan, marketing, website, documents) can give you the edge to get more donations, grants or sales.

Your website can even gain a competitive edge in search engine results because accessible websites usually use leaner code, which means they are faster and will get a boost from Google.

It also means that people searching online will be served more relevant content from your website and are therefore more likely to stay on your website once they’re there, reducing your bounce rate.

7. Peace of Mind

Addressing accessibility gives you peace of mind.

This is not legal advice, and you should consult a lawyer about your risk. But addressing accessibility can result in peace of mind from a legal standpoint.

When it comes to inaccessible websites, most entities end up writing a check. That amount may range anywhere from $1,000 to $350,000—for legal fines and fees for both parties.

That also doesn’t relieve you from having to remediate. A court may order you to do so within a certain timeframe, but that doesn’t mean someone else—a new plaintiff—can’t come along and make a claim.

Ready to have more impact with accessibility?

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