The online world needs to be more accessible and inclusive for all people. Especially in recent events where the pandemic has pushed many businesses to increase their online presence, it is more important than ever to increase that inclusivity for all. Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella recently said, 10% of the world’s GDP will be spent on tech. Yet, we’re reaching a point at which tech companies that don’t make their products accessible to all possible users will be excluded from the market, and miss out on that windfall.
Currently 97% of the world wide web is inaccessible. With half the population on earth having a [diagnosed] disability (at 1.3B people) approximately 70% of the population experiencing blurred vision, businesses should want to consider inclusivity. Business leaders that haven’t understood the need for this have gotten it all wrong and injected massive risk and a framework for compounding failure into their organization. Not only is inclusive design necessary, but it’s actually already proven to be fundamental to sustainable business growth and success.
Cat Noone, the co-founder and CEO of Stark states that when designing and building a website, apps, and various technology, this is the stage where accessibility ideally is incorporated in the development phase. This is the most cost-effective approach, however most websites were built prior to these compliance orders and need help in retrofitting.
To tackle this, accessibility pioneer Stark has just launched Stark for Chrome, a web browser extension that will allow tech companies to embed accessibility in their products.
With this new feature, an addition to their suite of accessibility tools, Stark is positioning itself as one of the only companies offering tech giants and startups practical solutions to the ‘disability divide’ that is increasingly being spotlighted as an Achilles heel of innovation.
Cat lists the reasons why your business should care about accessibility:
1. It expands your customer base
By creating an inclusive online presence, you have increased your customer base significantly by the mere concept of inclusion. You will have the ability to reach more potential customers and that can improve your bottom line.
2. Protects you from noncompliance
When there will be financial penalties for non-compliance with accessibility standards, because you acted proactively and ensured your website met compliance, you will avoid the financial downfall of having to pay hefty fines.
3. Protects you from negative public exposure
In world of cancel culture, it can be in the company’s best interest to ensure it has met inclusivity requirements to ensure that nobody is left behind. Inclusivity matters for everyone.
4. More cost effective to include now than down the road
It is most effective to bake in these requirements at the outset of digital product design and building, however if you have an existing website the next best option is to resource allocate so you can retrofit little by little over time the existing components and ensure these standards are baked in going forward. The longer you wait to take action, the more expensive the job will be.
5. Companies will get left behind if they don’t prioritize
In terms of public opinion and not reaching a larger customer base, by choosing not to comply you will lose out on potential business and growth.
The bottom line is inclusivity is a right for everyone, and as the world begins to recognize this, people are more aware and sensitive to social issues. To ensure that you have created an inclusive business is not only beneficial for business, it also makes good financial sense. Businesses should be striving to do better every day and accessibility needs to be prioritized.