Web and digital accessibility should be a vital part of any business plan. Everyone’s communication requirements should be acknowledged and planned for from the beginning, as accessibility is just as important as even security and virus protection, if not more so. This article offers four good reasons why accessibility needs to be integrated into your business plans, before you roll them out.
If you don’t think about digital accessibility at the beginning then you’re probably going to pay for it at the end – either via costly remediation or costly rebuilding if you are on an inaccessible platform. For example, online content could be accessible, but the platform you’re using to distribute it could be inaccessible with no way of changing it, which means you’ll have to start again from scratch to ensure accessibility.
1. Inclusion for all
Think about this… there are 24 million people living in Australia and around 5 million have some form of disability – that’s about 1 in 5. Many with a disability or impairment won’t be able to digitally access an organisation’s products and services because of their circumstances, unless they are catered for. If they’re not, it’s not only bad for business it’s also very unfair, as equal opportunity in life is a basic human right. So it’s important that this sizable percentage of the population is accounted for in the business plan, from the beginning.
2. Compliance is sometimes mandated
There is disability discrimination legislation and guidelines (WCAG 2.0) in place and in some cases it is mandatory for an organisation’s services to be digitally accessible. What’s more, the public has the power to complain if they believe that their treatment is unfair, which could lead to lawsuits, unfavourable publicity, and a negative opinion of your organisation’s brand reputation.
3. Serious money can be saved
In the long run, making sure accessibility is an integral part of your business plans from the start will mean that resources will be allocated efficiently and there will be no more last-minute panics regarding running out of time and/or budget to implement the vital accessibility features. An organisation can spend many thousands of dollars on a brand new website and if accessibility isn’t considered up-front, redesigning, recoding and rewriting could incur a whole lot more cost.
4. ‘Cleaner’ branding, coding, and communication
One of the upsides of having accessibility as an integrated focus in your projects is that the branding tends to be ‘cleaner’. A key focus of accessibility guidelines (WCAG 2.0) is to ensure a high level of contrasts between colours, clean HTML coding, clearer text fonts, and less complicated language. This will allow your core message to be more clearly understood, and result in a ‘cleaner’ HTML code meaning that modifications can be more easily made. And these are things that people of all abilities will appreciate.
You can contact the Digital Accessibility Services team at Media Access Australia to discuss incorporating web and digital access into your project plans before you commence.