February 03 2021

Making the Business Case for Website Accessibility

business case website accessibilityAn accessible website works for all users, even for those with disabilities. While the moral imperative focuses on fairness and inclusion, there is also a strong business case to an accessible site.

The moral imperative

Does anybody want to be a brand that alienates their customers or visitors? Of course not. There is no arguing that the disabled are trying to use your services. However, for some businesses, it can be difficult to pivot to justifying the investment in ADA conformance for the moral imperative alone.

Avoid a lawsuit

The most obvious business case for making all of your digital tactics accessible is that site and app owners are being sued. In 2019, more than 11,000 federal ADA lawsuits were filed and, ignoring the outlier year of 2020, the number of suits has been consistently increasing each year. Legal expenses can be debilitating even if a case were ultimately dismissed; the cost and uncertainty of an inaccessible site is a clear motivating factor. But it shouldn’t be the only motivation.

Seniors are the most likely to be disabled

About 10% of Americans between the age of 18-64 have a disability. Starting at age 65, the percentage of Americans with a disability skyrockets to more than 35% which equates to more than 17 million Americans. What types of senior disabilities are most common?

  • Ambulatory Disabilities (3.8 million Americans) – This one might not seem to be a disability that affects your digital presence, but it does make that digital presence crucial for those who might simply find it too difficult or even impossible to visit a physical location.

  • Hearing Disabilities (2.5 million Americans) – This is another disability that might not seem to affect a site or app, but we are seeing more and more videos being posted and they all must have captions and transcripts.

  • Cognitive Disabilities (1.5 million Americans) – Avoid clutter, movement and make access to accounts as easy as possible without jeopardizing security.

  • Vision Disabilities (1.1 million Americans) – Avoid poor color contrasts, small text, and a cluttered interface.

If you are not already 65 or over, you surely know someone who is and have likely seen them struggle to use the Internet or apps on their smartphone and/or tablet.

Seniors have the most money

If compassion alone isn’t enough of a reason to consider accessibility, perhaps another budgetary reason is convincing. In 2020, the age-group with the highest average net worth was 65–69-year-olds with $1.25M. For all seniors, the average net worth was $1.09M. Meanwhile, the average net worth of Americans between the age of 40-64 is $927K. (For the sake of comparison, the average net worth of those between 35-39 is $247K). Seniors are much more likely to be retired and have available time coupled with a higher net value than they have had at any other time in their lives. It becomes clear that accessibility could help the bottom line.

So, those with the most money are also most likely to have a disability

Accessibility is not just the right, fair thing to do, but it's good for business. As demonstrated and as is intuitive, as we age, the chance that we are disabled increases. Also, though, as we age, the likelihood that we have more money increases. Though there are more Americans between 18-64 than those 65 and older, isn’t it wise to consider that those most likely to have the most money are also most likely to be disabled? Further, this is not the only portion of the disabled who might have money to spend. Between this fact, the threat of a lawsuit, and the moral imperative, the case to have an accessible website and app is clear. Ready to have a conversation about accessibility? Contact our Certified Professional in Accessibility Core Competencies experts.

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posted by
Dan Seagull
Dan Seagull
Sr. QA & Certified Accessibility Analyst

ZAG Interactive is a full-service digital agency in Glastonbury, CT, offering website design, development, marketing and digital strategy to clients nationwide. See current job openings.