3 minute read

The business case for web accessibility

To many in the corporate world, web accessibility can look like a nice-to-have, or a forced box-ticking exercise.

The truth is that web accessibility can have a positive impact on your bottom line. You need to understand the upsides, take advantage of them, and properly manage your costs.

Reasons why web accessibility is good for business

Accessible websites reach more customers

With over a billion people worldwide having some form of disability – about 15% – making your website accessible increases the potential audience for your products or services.

In 2021, US e-commerce retailers lost an estimated $828 million over the holiday season because their websites were inaccessible. As the population ages and the world becomes ever more digitized, this lost opportunity is likely to grow.

Avoid legal and reputational risk

Businesses that fail to prioritize web accessibility can face legal implications, as numerous laws around the world mandate digital inclusion.

In the U.S., for example, Title III of the Americans with Disabilities Act has been interpreted by courts to apply to websites, leading to a surge in litigation that shows no signs of slowing down. Businesses that don’t comply may face substantial fines, legal fees, and a tarnished reputation.

Laws vary by country, but they are strengthening over time. For example, Europe is legislating the accessibility of private sector websites in 2025.

Boost SEO efforts

Web accessibility and SEO share the common goal of making content more understandable and easy to find. Both seek to improve the user experience by making websites more navigable, legible, and understandable.

Many accessibility practices, such as providing alternative text for images and using proper headings, improve website visibility on search engines.

Learn more about how accessibility helps to boost your SEO.

Improve customer experience

Web accessibility improves the user experience for everyone, not just those with disabilities.

It helps to realize that web accessibility is a continuum of user experience. Making a website accessible can be thought of as a high-end version of making your user experience great.

Implementing accessibility features such as clear navigation, readable text, and intuitive site layout enhances usability, leading to higher customer satisfaction and retention rates.

Future-proofing your business

Web accessibility aligns with the growing trend towards more inclusive digital experiences.

As technology advances and demographics shift, ensuring your website is accessible future-proofs your business and prepares you for changes in customer expectations, user behavior and regulatory standards.

An investment in your brand

Being inclusive and accessible boosts the image and the value of your brand.

It demonstrates a commitment to equality and fairness, which is increasingly a requirement in appealing to socially conscious consumers, businesses, and investors. It can set you apart from your competitors, and potentially open up new markets and partnerships.

Potential for innovation

Focusing on accessibility can lead to innovative solutions that benefit all users. For instance, the push for closed captioning on videos not only assists the hearing impaired but also benefits those who prefer to watch videos without sound. This demonstrates how accessibility can drive innovation that improves the user experience across the board.

Reduces maintenance costs

A surprising consequence of web accessibility is it can reduce long-term website maintenance costs. This is achieved primarily through the adoption of clean, standards-compliant coding practices which, in turn, ensure that a website is more stable and easier to update.

Building a website with accessibility in mind often means using semantic HTML and a well-structured content hierarchy. Semantic HTML not only enhances accessibility but also reduces the complexity of the codebase, making it more robust and easier to maintain.

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