I bet, when you hear news of the Paralympics every fourth year, you don’t really take a step back and think – how big is the community of disabled people on a global level?
The World Bank’s estimates suggest that 15% of the world’s population is living with a disability. And, one-fifth of these are experiencing significant disabilities.
Potentially, 1 billion people in the world are affected by some disability or the other. No wonder, then, that there’s a place for Paralympics in our world.
There’s also no wonder, then, that the clamor for making the World Wide Web accessible is getting louder with each day.
Web Accessibility – Where Does It Stand Today?
To give context to the discussion of how web accessibility can help businesses to get more sales, let’s understand the current state of affairs, in the USA.
In 2018, US federal courts recorded 2258 lawsuits filed under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). This marked a 177% increase in the number of lawsuits recorded in 2017.
Lawsuits aren’t the most appropriate triggers for businesses to realize how millions of Internet users expect a more accessible web. That said, this revelation in US’ legal and business environment has amplified the volume of the ‘web accessibility’ narrative to a level where the world is taking notice.
Businesses from the US, UK and EMEA are taking the services of experts who can help them quickly make their websites ADA compliant. accessiBe is leading this niche marketplace of web accessibility solutions by adopting AI technology and leveraging it to do most of the “heavy lifting”.
The benefits of accessiBe are two folds for businesses:
- Making the website ADA compliant protects businesses from lawsuits.
- An accessible website makes every website user with a disability a potential customer as well, and contributes to sales.
The Implications For Businesses
There’s nothing new, per se, in the discussion around corporate responsibility towards people with disabilities. In the past 100 years, the world has become a much saner and better place for people with disabilities, at least as far as inclusion in the business world is concerned.
The revelation, however, is closely connected to the treatment of websites and mobile applications as ‘places of public accommodation’. In other terms, the legal system (at least in the US) now places the responsibility of ensuring accessibility of websites on the business that owns these websites.
The Market is Massive
The number of people with disabilities in the US labor market is on a steady rise.
In an extensive research done to understand the real size of the market comprised by people with disabilities in the US, American Institutes for Research (AIR) revealed startling facts:
- The total after-tax disposable income of people with disabilities (in the working age) is $490 billion.
- This is almost equal to the after-tax disposable income of African Americans ($501 billion) and Hispanics ($582 billion)!
- Discretionary income of people with disabilities (in the working age) is $21 billion, and (surprise) this is more than the discretionary income of African Americans and Hispanics combined!
Now, can a business afford to ignore such a massive market segment? The answer is a resounding NO.
More Ways How Web Accessibility Opens New Sales Channels for Businesses
At its core, web accessibility in the US is about complying with Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.1.
Any website that complies with these directives automatically becomes very easy to use for another mammoth market demographic – that’s the elderly.
People aged 65 and over tend to live many years of their lives with these conditions:
- Blurry vision
- Deteriorating cognitive function
- Diminishing motor ability
- Inability to concentrate
An accessible website’s design is such that it enabled aged users with any of these symptoms to comfortable browse through, choose products, understand the brand, shop around, leave feedback, seek help, and even recommend your website.
And invariably, this leads to a captive audience, a lot of favorable media coverage, and in general, a positive business branding message that says – we care.
Is It Right to Enforce Compliance on Businesses With Legal Arm Twisting?
Well, it’s safe to assume that no reasonable business would deliberately keep its products and services out of the reach of people with disabilities. Then, how acceptable is it for such a business to be bombarded by ADA lawsuits?
Probably, the question needs to be approached from another direction. Why don’t businesses realize the massive revenue potential of the market comprised by people with disabilities?
Businesses Ought To Proactively Become ‘Accessible’ To Benefit From More Sales
Running a business, at its core, is about solving unpredictable problems every day. And, business is all about identifying opportunities and doing ones’ best to grow.
Why do businessmen need a legal lesson to identify the massive potential that lays in front of them. And this market is ready to be tapped, in the form of the 1 billion people with disabilities on this Earth, a lot of whom want to spend their discretionary income on their products and services.