Every movement begins with a moment.
Web accessibility plays a critical role in the customer journey — from awareness to decision making to direct engagement with a brand. The challenge is that most businesses don’t even know what web accessibility is.
So what is it?
Web accessibility refers to the inclusive practice of removing barriers that prevent people with physical limitations from accessing websites and digital products. These limitations might affect vision, hearing, physical movement, speech, cognition and other neurological functions. But there’s one thing these limitations don’t affect: that person’s role as a consumer.
Put simply: if you’re a brand that’s not taking web accessibility into account, then you’re missing out on connecting with a huge consumer segment. According to Fifth Quadrant Analytics, the disability market represents 1.3 billion people across the globe — that’s equivalent to the population of China. In the U.S. alone, people with disabilities account for 20% of the market. That’s a lot of people not visiting your website to buy your products and services.
If you’re behind the curve on this one, there are folks out there who can help. Non-profit WebAIM is a great resource for brands (or anyone, for that matter) that want to create more accessible websites. There’s also the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C), an international community that develops open standards to ensure the long-term growth of the web. These are the masterminds behind the Web Accessibility Initiative (WAI), which focuses on improving the accessibility of the Web for people with disabilities. Also, my colleague Patrick Young wrote a blog this past September about web accessibility from a developer’s perspective.
However you decide to educate yourself on web accessibility, do it soon. The digisphere is evolving and expanding at lightning speed and — with the adoption of new devices — the lines between usability and accessibility will only become more blurred.
Thanks for posting this Adam! It's great to see accessibility from the eyes of creative. It takes everyone's knowledge of accessibility to make it work cohesively.
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