The lack of accessibility in business web sites can result in lawsuits, lost customers and negative public relations. These are bad news even for big companies or brands. For small businesses, the result can be devastating. On the other hand, having web accessibility can provide a positive public perception and allows brands to reach a wider customer base. Thus, it is important to prioritize web accessibility in the design phase of business web sites.
Web accessibility means all digital tools and websites can be used easily by persons with disabilities.
More people require assistance in using the Internet than most people think. According to the World Health Organization, there are 39 million blind people worldwide. In the U.S., almost 20% of the population has a disability such as motor impairments, hearing difficulty and cognitive disabilities. These abilities make it hard to access the Internet without assistance and render some contents completely inaccessible.
According to eSSENTIAL Accessibility, an assistive technology and web accessibility solutions firms, persons with disabilities comprise about 10% of all online spending. Seventy-one percent of them abandon sites that are difficult to use and 90% do not file a complaint. This is a problem for businesses in terms of lost customers. But the problem is bigger when persons with disabilities begin to take a stand. An example of this is Domino’s Pizza which lost in the case filed by a blind customer who had difficulty using its web site. The site was not compatible with screen reading software.
Web-accessibility platform AccessiBe CMO Gal Vizel highlighted the growing number of lawsuits filed against celebrity-owned web sites for failing to provide access to persons with visual impairments. He also said that the lawsuits related to ADA web accessibility have increased from 814 in 2017 to 2,285 in 2018. That is a 183% increase in one year.
To avoid potential problems, small business owners should work with a digital agency or a web design team to ensure that the websites as ADA-compliant or meet accessibility standards.