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How Offering Accessibility Services Can Help You Grow Your Business
January 25, 2022
The World Health Organization reports that 15% of the world’s population lives with a disability. This percentage represents consumers sidelined by businesses in the past. In recent times, accessibility services have paved the way for a more inclusive approach to business and customer services.
Accessibility services are fast becoming a necessity for businesses to thrive, and for a good reason too. For starters, it promotes inclusivity, and by extension, increases reach. As a plus, it plays a role in keeping litigation at bay. With the rise in the adoption of these services by businesses, chances are, you will get lost in the crowd if you choose to stay on the sidelines.
By offering accessibility services, you open up your business to several opportunities for growth. Its value is such that it has the potential to increase your revenue, promote brand awareness, and build customer loyalty. In addition, you'll be setting your business apart from your competition in several ways.
Bridging the web accessibility gap through AI
Despite the immense benefits of accessibility to businesses, it still has not gained as much adoption as it should on the web. Some have called this the web accessibility gap. A recent survey revealed that only less than 2% of the Internet meets accessibility guidelines.
So far, artificial intelligence has continued to play a crucial role in introducing a new outlook to accessibility and bridging the existing gap. Businesses can now utilize AI to make the internet more accessible to consumers living with disabilities.
Business benefits of offering accessibility services
1. It enhances your visibility through SEO
If there is one thing search engines like Google prioritize, it is an outstanding user experience. And this very well embodies the essence of accessibility. Businesses that pay attention to accessibility meet Google UX metrics. These metrics aim to measure all-encompassing user experience.
Accessibility services improve the quality of your website’s SEO. By extension, you will be moving your website up the ranks on search engines and increasing your visibility. This is good for you because website traffic thrives on visibility. The more visible you are, the more your business gets in front of your target audience, and of course, the more conversions you make.
By focusing on website accessibility, you are improving the experience of your visitors. Navigation and interaction with your website become easier. This ease of access impacts dwell time on your website and significantly reduces the bounce rate.
2. A boost in revenue
A man seated and looking at his tablet
The 15% of people living with disabilities represent a large consumer market with massive potentials for profitability still largely untapped. These folks have a right to and deserve access to products and services that improve the quality of their lives. This presents opportunities for businesses to broaden their market penetration.
No doubt, you will incur a cost for adopting an accessible web space for your business. However, compared to the benefits that accompany such adoption, it is a small price to pay.
Businesses that offer accessibility services can reach a larger consumer base with their products and services. And an increased reach correlates to higher revenue.
Let’s examine a few stats
Although some argue that calculating the return on investment is nearly impossible, the buying power of people with disabilities shows the potential for massive returns from that market.
- The spending power of working-age adults with disabilities in the US is estimated at $490 billion.
- Businesses lose approximately £2 billion monthly in the UK by not paying attention to accessibility.
- The online spending power of people with disabilities in the UK is estimated at £274 billion.
- Reports show that 4.3 million online shoppers with disabilities with a combined spending power of £11.75 billion clicks away from inaccessible websites in the UK.
- The buying power of people with disabilities in Canada is estimated to be $50 billion.
These stats all point to the opportunities for profit maximization that businesses can tap into by offering accessibility services. Not only does it boost your revenue generation, but it also helps to save you from costly litigations that could arise resulting from a lack of accessibility.
3. Increase customer satisfaction and retention
A woman seated and smiling
Accessibility plays a vital role in customer satisfaction and retention.
Most times, people living with disabilities face difficulty accessing quality customer services resulting from the lack of inclusion by businesses.
This void creates an opportunity for you to step in and stand out from the crowd. According to the US department of commerce, companies not offering accessibility services are losing $6.9 billion yearly to competitors who do.
When you make your business an exception by offering accessibility services, people with access needs can experience customer satisfaction that they can hardly find elsewhere. This type of distinct customer satisfaction leads to client lock-in and retention of this somewhat marginalized customer base.
4. It helps to build a reputable brand identity and spread brand awareness
Perception matters in business. It forms a basis for your brand identity, which is pivotal to maintaining relevance in a saturated online marketplace.
What would you rather be known as?
A brand sidelining people with disabilities? Or the brand that fosters inclusivity to accommodate varying customer bases?
While the first option seems like an easier route, it comes with several downsides — the risk of litigations, poor customer experiences, et cetera. With more and more people clamoring for accessibility, a lack of it creates a bad brand image. And you don’t want that.
On the other hand, making your business accessible helps build a reputable brand identity and image. You’ll have many more people with optimal experiences with your brand. Moreso, it is an easy way to spread brand awareness because the ripple effect of such experiences cascades into larger circles of consumers in search of such services.
5. It improves the overall usability of your website
Although the central focus for an accessible website design is to serve an audience with disabilities, it also improves the site's overall usability for an audience without disabilities. While accessibility is a prerequisite for your consumer base with access needs, it is a plus for other regular users.
At its core, accessibility enhances effectiveness, efficiency, and satisfaction. This enhancement makes a big difference in how everyone interacts with your products and services. Here are a few examples.
- Including alt text to images and objects helps blind and visually impaired people understand the visual content on your website. On the other hand, if an image fails to load because of a poor internet connection, anyone can read the alt texts to know what the image or object is about.
- Using a good color contrast for your website helps visually impaired users and any user for that matter interact better with the content on your website.
- A user-friendly and interactive website design helps people with slow cognitive disabilities navigate your website. It also improves the overall usability of your website.
Join the bandwagon
There are several long-term benefits your business stands to gain by joining the accessibility bandwagon. Ultimately, you will be making the webspace better and more usable for people with disabilities and those without alike.
If you are new to this world of inclusivity and access and would like to adopt it for your business, you are on the right track to growth. You don’t need to go through the stress of putting a team together. Outsourcing day-to-day services makes it all the easier.
The first step should be to have an in-depth analysis of your current business website to highlight the areas that need improvement in line with accessibility guidelines. You can hire a developer for a shift to get started.