There are 49 million good reasons to make your website accessible to people with disabilities.
And every one of them counts.
There's a world of information on the Web. But to use it, enjoy it, study it and buy from it, people with disabilities first have to get at it.
Can they get at yours?
People with Disabilities Online
There are over 49 million people with one or more disabilities in the US alone. Some have trouble seeing or hearing. Others have difficulty reading or understanding text. Many (7% of men) are affected from color blindness. And even more are affected from age related health problems.
This group of people is a huge, potential market for your business. Yet, many will not be able to use your website effectively. Why? Because, they can't get at the information it contains. And if they can't get at the information, you're losing sales.
The Importance of Web Accessibility for People with Disabilities
There are many web surfers who have some type of disability and use assistive technology for their computers. It may be a cognitive or physical disability from sight problems to the inability to use their hands.
And while senior citizens don't consider themselves to have a disability, they often do experience difficulty with physical movement, limited vision or loss of sight and other limitations that require the use of assistive technology.
Assistive devices can consist of screen readers for those who have limited sight or are blind, head pointers for those who do not have the use of their hands, or individuals that require the use of keyboard shortcuts because of limited use of their hands.
"Section 508 requires that Federal agencies' electronic and information technology is accessible to people with disabilities," as quoted from http://www.section508.gov/. Section 508 is part of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and went into effect June 21, 2001.
While it may take some extra effort to make a site accessible, something to remember is that people with disabilities control over $175 billion dollars in discretionary income. Senior citizens also control a large portion of dollars in discretionary income.
Why Website Accessibility?
Because there are a number of significant financial and social benefits using this feature to enable a potential increase in business why reducing overall production costs.
- Broaden the reach of audience to increase traffic
- Expand potential market share & increase search ranking potential
- Comply with legislation to reduce potential litigation under the Disabilities Discrimination Act
- Faster download time, increased cross-browser compatibility, accessible to mobile communication devices
- Accessible to the over 40 million people with disabilities or special needs having expendable income
- No closed doors, removes obstacles in using a website
- Provide your visitors with an attractive, user-friendly website that can be visited by everyone
- Tap into a large group of people with disabilities who could be using your website to buy goods or services
- Target a growing, affluent older population
- Increase sales
- And last but not least, it is the right thing to do!