The accessibility market size is about 1 billion people globally. The spending power exceeds $6 trillion. This is why organizations need to address accessibility seriously. In fact, the more approachable the customer experience, the better for all of us.
This concept of accessibility has many facets. It can refer to products, services, or even marketing activities. Moreover, it promotes diversity and inclusion and offers numerous innovation opportunities.
We have already analyzed the market accessibility definition. Therefore, in today’s article, we will look more in the direction of digital accessibility.
The accessibility market size justifies the business case
First of all, you have legal responsibility. Many countries have laws in place that require it. Whether you run a commercial, non-profit or educational institution, you need to consider accessibility and affordability.
You need to put your organization’s resources and money into it. As we were saying, in many countries, the law requires it. You need to pass specific standards and policies. Therefore, if people with disabilities cannot access your products, they can legally sue your organization. There is such a precedent.
In 2019, Guillermo Robles made the news when he sued Domino’s Pizza because he couldn’t use their website to order Pizza. The man is blind and tried to use screen-reading software to aid himself. However, neither the website nor the mobile app worked in this way. What happened?
Guillermo won. Therefore, the company lost because it failed in making its website accessible enough. Consequently, the court considered that people living with disabilities could be shut out of the economy. And this is not fair. We all know it.
People living with disabilities are part of our society. They must have equal access to the websites and apps we all use. Otherwise, they cannot fully participate in our modern world.
However, depending on your type of organization, the market accessibility criteria change. So, let’s look closely into that.
From accessibility to innovation
There are many reasons why you should take accessibility seriously. First of all, there is the legal aspect. Secondly, there’s the equity facet. Thirdly, accessibility will change your organizational focus and purpose for good.
If you run a business, then you should consider the market expansion possibilities. If you’re working in marketing, then think about brand awareness. A brand that advocates for accessibility is a good brand. It means good publicity and image. That builds, in time, a great reputation with your client pool. Moreover, it opens the door for further opportunities.
But what about the difficulties? Needless to say, there are certain market accessibility challenges. First of all, it is very difficult to calculate the ROI of an accessibility investment. Therefore, you will have a hard time measuring how your efforts pan out in the short term. By tapping into the accessibility market size, you do extend your opportunities. Nevertheless, you also widen your costs.
However, you don’t need to worry about these things from the start. Overall, accessibility is profitable. Research shows that companies from the Fortune 100 have increased their overall profitability by adopting a diversity strategy.
This concept of accessibility equips brands with a much more diverse market. It makes your business more effective in the long term.
How does accessibility drive innovation?
First of all, it eliminates most of the social barriers that might stand in the way of innovation. It makes you design your thinking differently. Therefore, you find more flexible solutions for your users. Consequently, you can redesign your systems and applications in a way that offers more interactivity.
Secondly, you become more aware of user interaction in general. You don’t only focus on the screens that matter for people with disabilities. You will begin to rethink the whole design. Therefore, you can create a more human-centered digital experience that is both contextual and intuitive.
Accessibility means usability. Let’s think of it as general usability. This ease of use you’re striving for will result in a more generally intuitive process.
The text-to-speech and voice control technology was initially designed to help people with disabilities. However, as you well know, they now have much broader use.
Autonomous cars are promising inventions for visually-impaired people. Nevertheless, they can also help solve some serious traffic problems. The research into artificial retinas is aimed at helping restore sight to people. However, the data in this research can be used for robots in the future. It could aid the development of real-time image-processing systems.
Therefore, accessible design is a step forward. It makes you consider many other aspects and uses.
Let’s talk about digital accessibility now
The experiences we have while surfing the web are visually-rich these days. Actually, they need to be so. Our attention spans have shrunk over the years. So, UX and UI designers have less time to get our attention.
The golden rule for digital these days has the word “mobile” in it. Everything needs to be mobile-optimized. Otherwise, it will just be lost in the immense space called the internet.
Nevertheless, “mobile-optimized” does not mean accessible before all things. But we’ll get to that.
Let’s get back to the real world for a bit and think about the Pandemic. It has changed our lives a lot. We rely on digital products and services more than ever. And that also includes people with disabilities. They also need to have access to work, baking, or entertainment. Moreover, they also need a better shopping experience and healthcare. So, the web accessibility market size has grown.
It’s incredible how design can influence our lives. A poor display of design and functionality, and the poor man cannot order Pizza. So, this is why you should consider the effectiveness of design more than ever.
What is the digital accessibility market size?
Digital accessibility is a complex concept. It involves making websites and apps available to everyone. All users should benefit from the same level of access regardless of their handicaps.
So, what is an example of accessibility? For instance, a person with a cognitive disability should be able to find their way around a digital service. The content and navigation should be straightforward and unpretentious. A person who cannot see should be able to order food online using a screen reader.
Web vs digital accessibility
On the web market accessibility level, technologies should provide the answer. They should give people the same opportunity to read and understand a piece of content.
The web should be free and accessible o everyone who has the proper hardware and software. People with a diverse range of hearing, cognition, sight, or movement should be able to understand a web product.
Digital accessibility, on the other hand, is more complex. It includes web accessibility and something more. We are talking about audio, animations, videos, and mobile apps here. These are basically different digital products.
The web content accessibility guidelines (WCAG)
The WCAG is a standard developed in 2018 that establishes all the technical requirements for web accessibility. Moreover, it also stands as a reference for accessibility legislation. The most notorious one is ADA (The Americans with Disabilities Act) for America. In the EU, we have the European Web Accessibility Directive.
The WCAG states four base principles. Each principle is classified into three A levels. A is the easiest, and the most challenging is AAA. So, let’s look into those.
Principle number one is perceivable. Therefore, every piece of information and the digital element must be easily perceived in more than one sense. Usually, most web content is visual. Nevertheless, it should be both visual and audible, at least.
This principle refers to all the elements that make an interface interactive. It includes buttons, controls, or gestures. They should be operable by touching, swiping, rolling, or clicking. Nevertheless, to make these controls truly accessible, you need more. You need voice commands. Head wands or eye trackers are other types of interactive technologies that can be used.
So, as you can see, your application needs to be operable in ways more than one.
All the technology should feature a predictable design. This includes the accessibility to the testing market. Any end-user should be able to understand the purpose of your content. More than that, every user should be able to comprehend the user flow. The greatest interface is that which offers a flawless interaction with the end-user. Therefore, you might think of all the end-users possible.
The accessibility to the market should be robust and reliable. It ought to work with a wide variety of technologies and devices. So, in this way, people with disabilities can rely on it.
A few examples
If the accessibility market meaning is still not clear, it’s time for some concise examples.
- In the case of a non-text element, audio alternatives should be provided.
- Present content in various ways. Nevertheless, the meaning, context, and structure remain the same.
- Content that can be operated only from the keyboard. No mouse or cursor is needed.
- The material should not cause seizures. People with various light sensibilities should be able to watch it.
- The element presents more than one way of navigating. Everyone can find their way around and determine what content they want.
- Screen recorders have permission to examine the content.
- Videos include captions for people with hearing deficiencies.
- Images have alt text for people with visual impairments.
- Permits navigation by “Tab” for users who cannot use a mouse.
Why it matters for your business
First of all, the accessibility of the target market opens new doors. Tests show that 71% of people with disabilities simply leave a website that is not accessible to them.
So, by making your website more accessible, you tap into a wider market. Moreover, you make your website better for everybody. And what is even more, your brand awareness grows. Inclusion and diversity are big topics in our society today. You can make them your brand’s mission.
So, are you convinced? Reach that large customer base that needs just a little more attention. There are around $1 billion people there. Strive to make your user journey better for them. This way, you will make it better for everyone. So, you will drive innovation and prove that your brand is serious. It’s good to have a serious mission that benefits society as a whole. Moreover, you will avoid any costly lawsuits.
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