Selling Accessibility

How to get buy-in from the powers that be

Web accessibility has been a hot topic in the design world lately, as major tech companies make strides to improve their experience for users with disabilities (shout out to Apple and Twitter!). Despite this, many people in the industry are still struggling to get stakeholders onboard.

If you need help conveying the importance of designing and developing with accessibility in mind to stakeholders in your organization, here are a few notes to strengthen your message. I’ve also included a link to an editable presentation you can use to help make your case.

What is web accessibility?

Web accessibility is designing and developing so that people of diverse abilities can perceive, understand, navigate, interact with, and contribute to the web. One out of every five Americans has a disability, so accessibility should be viewed as a standard rather than an enhancement. Users with disabilities should not be viewed as a separate persona. They have the same goals as the users without disabilities who use your product. They just happen to be using accessibility tools to achieve them.

Why should we care?

Social Benefits
Incorporating accessibility ensures equal access to users with disabilities, and makes access easier for people with low bandwidth connections, low literacy and/or fluency, older users, and users on mobile devices. The web is replacing traditional means of service delivery. Let’s not leave anyone behind. Learn More

Technical Benefits
Incorporating accessibility does increase development time initially, but long term, it can reduce the time you spend on development and maintenance. Web accessibility techniques can also reduce bandwidth use and server load. If your organization is interested in web interoperability and device-independence, incorporating web accessibility can help make that a reality. Learn More

Financial Benefits
Accessible websites reap all the financial benefits that come with increased site usage. Accessible websites also have better SEO. Search engines are, in a sense, blind. They don’t see images, video content, or Javascript. They rely on things like page structure and alt text to make meaning from your website. Learn More

Legal Considerations
There are negative consequences to ignoring accessibility guidelines. Civil rights laws, including the Americans with Disabilities Act, prohibit discrimination against people with disabilities. Legal precedent has established that online retailers must comply. No one is above the law. Just ask Target and Netflix. If you’re interested in expanding internationally, be sure to research accessibility policy in your target market. Many countries have stricter guidelines than the U.S. Learn More

Ready to make your case? Make a copy of this editable presentation to facilitate the conversation.

Good luck!