Digital update: Online accessibility can bring in billions 

online accessibility

While accessibility has long been a requirement for businesses in real life, online accessibility has been much slower to catch up. But by ignoring their responsibility to make online friendlier to people with disabilities brands may also be writing off huge amounts of revenue. 

Granted, that sounds pretty cynical. Clearly the biggest drivers for online accessibility should have nothing to do with bringing in more money. Instead this is a step that must be taken to break down barriers and ensure some of the most marginalised consumer groups aren’t left out in the cold. 

Nevertheless, the race for online accessibility isn’t just a philanthropic gesture to position firms as caring and conscious. According to new figures, there’s a massive, underserved market that companies can tap into if they refocus on online accessibility. Sounds good, doesn’t it? And that’s before we come to the SEO benefits…

The purple pound is very, very strong 

The charity Scope estimates that families with at least one disabled person have a combined spending power of £249billion in the UK alone. More than 1/5 of UK consumers have a disability— 8% of children, 19% working-age adults and 45% pensioners. 

But online accessibility provision is very, very weak 

As of 2019, a woeful 98% of homepages from 1million websites surveyed failed to meet legal accessibility standards. The problem is those standards are only enforced on government domains. This doesn’t mean companies aren’t being punished for their shortcomings— 3/4 of families with one or more disabled member have walked away from a UK company because of accessibility issues. This includes online and digital access. Losses are thought to be somewhere in the region of £2billion per month. 

Website accessibility can be achieved with effective SEO 

Earlier this year we published a blog post revealing ‘7 digital marketing expert tips to boost SEO and website accessibility‘.  The two aspects crossover at the following points: 

*Responsive site design — Google has been ranking websites down when they are not responsive to the device you view them on

*Simple messaging — Using clear, plain English is one of the first rules of SEO writing, and is also necessary to claim true accessibility 

*Easy navigation — Without decent dwell time search engines will penalise your website, clear navigation helps this and will improve usability for people with disabilities 

Simplicity is the key to online accessibility 

Website accessibility is not particularly complicated. In fact, the moment it becomes complicated you’re missing the point. UK Government boffins have come up with an acronym to help companies understand what they need to think of. 

Perceivable — Can all senses comprehend the design and information? 

Operable — Can everyone, no matter their disability, access the brand online?

Understandable — Is the information and interface easy to understand? 

Robust — Are assistive technologies fully supported, including screen readers, screen enlargement apps and voice programmes?

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