Section 1 - Introduction to accessibility
Why web accessibility should be a priority
Whether web accessibility has been on your mind for a while or is something completely new to you, there is no doubt that it is no longer a nice-to-have but a must-have.
Here are a few vital reasons why accessibility should be a top priority.
The aging population is predicted to triple to 1.5 billion by 2050
As the population ages through 2050, the difficulty people face with accessing what they need on the internet will only become more of a challenge, as cognitive abilities decline significantly over the age of 65. In the U.S. alone, Baby Boomers control two thirds of the country’s disposable income, according to a report from Forrester1, so neglecting this demographic could be hurting your business opportunities.
Web accessibility-related litigation and regulation continues to rise
In 2020, there was a record-breaking 23% increase in lawsuits related to the Americans for Disabilities Act (ADA) with the trend showing continued upwards growth. And as legislation catches up with web technology, you can also expect increasing regulation around accessibility that applies to private businesses. In Europe, for example, the European Accessibility Act will require private businesses that sell products and services deemed essential, such as computers, banking services, ecommerce websites and apps, to adhere to accessibility requirements. By July 2025, all EU member states will be required to apply these accessibility requirements into their respective national laws.
In 2020, there was a record-breaking 23% increase in lawsuits related to the Americans for Disabilities Act (ADA)
Greater demand for great user experiences
With the new page experience update for Google, the digital user experience you offer will have a direct impact on your search engine rankings. Google’s introduction of the Core Web Vitals, a set of three new metrics that measure how users experience the speed, responsiveness, and visual stability of a website, means a greater focus on usability. And at its core, user experience is about inclusion and accessibility. Start getting ready for the update now with the checklist on how you can prepare for Google’s page experience update.
What are the business benefits of accessible development and design?
There are several benefits to integrating accessibility into your website that go beyond compliance with accessibility laws.
A positive brand image
In a survey by Accenture in 2018, 51% of younger millennials (age 21-27) were more likely to shop at a retailer that demonstrated an authentic commitment to inclusion and diversity, with regards to age, gender, ethnicity, and disability. And the same goes for your potential employees who are more loyal to employers who are socially responsible. 64% of millennials won’t take a job if a company doesn’t have strong corporate social responsibility (CSR) values. Conscious consumers and employees have high expectations for authentic commitment, so using a quick fix like a one-off marketing campaign or accessibility overlays simply will not cut it.
A larger customer base
With 1.85 billion people with disabilities worldwide and 3.4 billion friends and family of people with disabilities, you can tap into a market larger than China by ensuring an accessible web experience. The Click-Away Pound Report 2016 shows that 80% of people with disabilities would rather buy from a more expensive web shop than one with poor accessibility. And 71% of people with disabilities simply leave a website immediately if it is not accessible. By prioritizing digital inclusion, you gain the loyalty of many more customers.
people with disabilities worldwide
friends and families of people with disabilities worldwide
Better search engine ranking
Beyond providing great access to information to all your users, coding in an accessible way, has other benefits for your web development team. Not only will you benefit from easier website maintenance and faster page loading times, but you can also leverage greater device compatibility and give your Search Engine Optimization (SEO) efforts a boost.