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DEI and web accessibility: Why agencies are the key players

by Gil Magen

January 24, 2022

Agencies, you are the unsung change-makers. Through the management of your clients, as well as the websites you oversee, you can make a grandiose impact and help clients achieve a larger sense of accessibility and diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) through education and training.

Web accessibility, the concept that an online service or website can be used by anyone, regardless of the condition they live with, is intertwined with DEI at the micro and macro levels of today’s market. Not only does it lift performance efforts and metrics such as SEO ranking, but it improves the user experience for one out of every four people who live with a disability. As an agency, you can increase your clients’ potential traffic with that added 25% of the population, raise retention and customer loyalty, while tapping into a market that has around $490 billion of disposable income to spend.

As change-makers, agencies like you can inform and influence both DEI and web accessibility initiatives among clients, propelling the ever-desirable win-win solution for a portion of the population.

But quickly, what is DEI?

DEI applies to certain policies and programs that can promote the representation and participation of varying groups of individuals.

Diversity brings together people of various backgrounds, conditions, and circumstances to the same space, and that includes online domains;

Equity ensures that people of varying backgrounds, conditions, and circumstances have the equal opportunity to participate within that space in an accessible manner;

Inclusion is acknowledging and embracing those differences so the space where they’re coming together feels familiar and fair.

With web accessibility, specifically, certain functions and adjustments are required for people with disabilities to navigate and perform transactions on your clients’ websites. To be truly inclusive and equitable, you’re helping your clients make their sites readable, audible, or adjusted in terms of animations, text, saturation, and other assets that make websites otherwise inaccessible.

So, how are agencies key players here?

Agencies can work to educate and influence clients on the importance of web accessibility, encouraging a movement that perpetuates beneficial activity for all. As an agency, you can:

1.) Offer integrated tools: Supply or help your clients integrate automated tools that make their websites accessible to a diverse population. For example, those living with motor impairments or learning disabilities will benefit from a web accessibility tool such as accessWidget.

2.) Set a new standard: Leading by example is key; help your clients serve or appeal to a new audience, and drive web accessibility efforts for those needing to implement diversity, equity, and inclusion practices online.

3.) Create a learning culture: Enable your clients to expand their personal and professional knowledge base, ultimately raising awareness about a neglected issue that deserves attention and immediate action.

Now, what are the benefits?

Web accessibility and the DEI encouragement that you offer can prompt a win-win solution for all, and these benefits are hard to dispute when clients are empowered by the respective solutions and practices:

1.) Save valuable resources: By providing AI-powered web accessibility solutions to clients, you and your clients can save both valuable time and money while actively maintaining compliance in an automatic fashion. You’re also negating the need for manual implementation and maintenance in the long run.

2.) New revenue streams: Help your clients hit their financial goals with greater ease and fairness. Generating new revenue while doing good is another win-win solution that comes with creating accessible websites for your clients.

3.) Enhanced online reputation: Reshape or strengthen your reputation by being an inclusive agency that supplies clients with accessible tools and resources. You’ll be catering to 25% of the population that live with disabilities by building accessible websites and preventing reputation issues that come with being non-inclusive and not compliant.

4.) Mitigate legal risk: Designing accessible websites and ensuring that they’re at the WCAG 2.1 AA level of compliance will help you and your clients avoid potential legal implications. It’s a great idea to assess your client’s website’s compliance level with automated free tools such as aCe, so everyone knows where they stand in terms of legislative requirements.

So, why are web accessibility and DEI so beneficial? Because from a professional perspective, as well as a moral one, diversity, equity and inclusion recognize an overlooked portion of the population that can contribute to the economy, relative trends, and a progressive perspective that keeps us moving forward as a society. Essentially, DEI and web accessibility combined make a perfectly blended oil that greases the turning wheel of change.

Tags

accessibility
web accessibility
DEI
Diversity, Equity & Inclusion
agencies
Marketing agencies
accessibe
Gil Magen