Modern business needs an internet presence, and the demographics of those using the internet is changing. According to BBC figures 3.2 billion people use the internet daily. Of those, internet freedom advocates estimate up to 700 million have accessibility requirements. This is a huge consumer base that has a right to good service by business, and from the economic perspective, it would be a folly to miss out on the potential custom of such a huge section of society. Worse is the prospect of missing out on workforce potential due to barriers to access. For business, there are clear steps to take to make their business an accessible and welcome one on the web.
A core concept for online business should revolve around making your website accessible first. In practice, this means implementing features that will help those with disabilities use your services. Modern technology provides for this, and in many cases is encouraged. Consider implementing keyboard navigation on your website, and voice recognition and activation. Make your website visually appealing, but easy to navigate, to help enable people with vision-related disability. Voice recognition in particular should be a primary focus; not only will this help to bring a wide range of disabled people into the fold, but it will boost your business. Current trends indicate that Google are valuing voice activation above all other features when it comes to search engine rankings.
For people with accessibility needs, finding employment can be hard. According to CNBC, just 41% of disabled people are employed – and it’s not for lack of trying. Disability can bar talented people from professions, and over time, it can become a mental barrier as companies bring up the same obstacles time and time again. A business based around accessible ideals will benefit hugely in this regard. According to MIT Sloan, reputation plays a huge part in business, and specifically in attracting certain types of people. Essentially, a business with a reputation for behavior in a certain fashion – for example a business that holds accessibility as a core tenet of its design – will attract potential employees who share the same values.
Growing the business
An important note on moving towards accessible-first business has been made by European CEO, a business expert website. They have outlined how accessibility doesn’t change the experience of existing customers, but does bring a wider community into the business and provides for them. Ultimately, making positive changes to enhance the experience of people with disability using your services will benefit everyone, not just that section of your consumer base.
For business growth, more potential clientele is crucial. People living with disabilities form a huge section of society that often find barriers thrown up to conducting their business, and deserve better treatment as a whole. A business that puts accessibility at the heart of their product design can not only expect to tap the custom of people living with disability, but also talent, too.