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Diversity equals innovation, but (web) accessibility equals opportunity

By Ian Darby | journalist

accessiBe

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May 4, 2022 | 6 min read

Web accessibility is an issue of growing concern given that one in four people in the US live with some kind of disability today, making it difficult for them to surf the internet, buy products and rent services. For brands and agencies to be fully inclusive, the focus needs to shift from a ‘them’ to an ‘us’ conversation to turn web accessibility into an opportunity that benefits everyone.

In 2022, being an inclusive brand is a must. Agency leaders have a duty to their clients to offer web accessibility solutions as part of their services, not only to swerve unnecessary Americans with Disabilities Act Standards for Accessible Design (ADA) lawsuits but also to boost their own revenue streams. That, along with the fact that consumers with disabilities have a collective buying power of $490bn.

Diversity equals innovation, but accessibility equals opportunity.

Diversity equals innovation, but accessibility equals opportunity.

To help agency leaders get to grips with issues around web accessibility, accessiBe, the market leader in AI web accessibility and technologies, partnered with The Drum to host a webinar to highlight key themes including how to make web accessibility an integral part of an agency's proposition and generate new revenue streams. It also explored how the AI-powered, automated approach makes web accessibility simple, efficient and affordable.

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Joining Rafi Glantz, senior partner success manager at accessiBe, was Alycia Anderson, TEDx motivational speaker, writer, corporate inclusion consultant, and founder of the Alycia Anderson Company – who was born with sacral agenesis and has been wheelchair-bound since birth – and marketing technology strategist Myrna Daramy. Watch the full webinar here.

Open web access to everyone

Anderson, who now shares her journey to inspire communities and companies to understand the true benefits inherent in building a diverse, inclusive, and accessible workplace and society, opens the discussion with the human side of her story, before moving onto the technological issues. She highlights that as much as 98% of internet content is inaccessible to people with disabilities, and, at best, accessibility is inconsistent overall for this large audience.

Basic requirements, such as being able to access goods and services online, is a challenge that affects billions of people worldwide, Anderson explains: “If you're opening your businesses worldwide to the internet, it's just the same as opening your doors to a brick-and-mortar location, and we cannot choose who is going to be allowed to be a customer or not, who we will hire or not.”

Moving onto the practicalities of businesses ensuring that their websites are accessible to all, Glantz discusses the prospect of lawsuits if businesses are not ADA and Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WACG) compliant. Instead of worrying too much about impending litigation it's best to be proactive and resolve issues around making websites more accessible, argues Glantz, adding that “there's a lot of opportunity, positive opportunity, to actively selling to, and pursuing, people with disabilities as customers and as employees.”

Daramy joins the conversation to talk about the rising awareness of ADA compliance among brands and their agencies to the point where they understand that it's a necessity rather than a “nice-to-have.” Around 90% of her clients buy into web accessibility solutions, because they not only meet legal requirements but also help to demonstrate brand values of openness and inclusivity while building loyalty with consumers.

“Diversity equals innovation, but accessibility equals opportunity,” she says. “If you can allow yourself to see how open and able this is going to become for you, in expanding your reach and touching people’s lives in a whole different way, it will do that.”

Education, inspiration, business-friendly solutions

This leads neatly into a demonstration of accessiBe's AccessWidget, built for businesses of all sizes and agencies, making web accessibility less expensive and time-consuming. Glantz explains: “If we can empower agencies to make this positive step in their whole process and website development, and it's not an afterthought and it's something that you can do to actually improve your business, then everybody wins.”

Anderson speaks of the positivity she feels when businesses embrace web accessibility, especially when it's part of a broader approach that also involves representation of people with disabilities. She says: “The internet is the most powerful place again, because it is the most freeing place for any type of disability, to access things...there's so much upside on opportunity for everyone, when you're starting to look at these types of tools and embedding them.”

The session wraps up with an emphasis on how simple it is for agencies to ensure that their client websites are ADA and WCAG compliant. “We have the leading widget on the market, it can make a website accessible in 48 hours or less,” says Glantz.

Before even this level of simple investment, agencies can run automatic tests on website accessibility compliance using accessiBe’s accessibility and compliance testing tool. It only takes a few seconds and is free of charge. That's a solution that could really start to open doors to the 98% of internet content that's closed for people with disabilities.

Tune in to watch the full webinar here.

Creativity Brand Strategy Agency Culture

Content created with:

accessiBe is the market leader in AI web accessibility solutions and technologies. As a web accessibility hub, accessiBe provides different AI-powered solutions for testing and remediating web accessibility, as well as various professional services aimed to create an inclusive web and help businesses comply with web accessibility standards and regulations i.e. WCAG and ADA. accessiBe’s full suite of web accessibility solutions enable businesses of all sizes, from solopreneur to large corporations, to take part in global inclusion efforts and to make their websites available to everybody, regardless of ability. accessiBe's founding team has deep domain expertise in the field of web development and accessibility services and has developed the technologies in close partnership with users who have vision impairments or blindness, epilepsy, motor impairments, cognitive dysfunctions, and other disabilities. To learn more, visit: accessibe.com

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