The post below was written in the fall of 2019. Six months later, accessibility is not just good business, it is critical to business.
On October 7, 2019 the United States Supreme Court denied a petition from Domino’s Pizza over the legal requirements of website accessibility. This left a decision from a lower court, in favor of Mr. Robles, a blind man who sued the pizza chain for an inaccessible website, in place. At the heart of the pizza chain’s argument is whether the ADA legally requires their website to be accessible. My question is, why would you not want to have a fully accessible website? Isn’t reaching as many consumers as possible just good business?
I recently took a call from a county manager in another state who oversees the website for their small municipality. The manager reached out to TCSAccess for information on initiatives and processes to make their website and county documents accessible to their citizens with disabilities. The impetus for the call was lawsuit stating the county site and online documents are inaccessible. They needed to find an accessibility solution.
We discussed the importance of accessible information but as the conversation progressed it was clear the county had not considered the accessibility of public information nor had they budgeted for accessibility testing or remediation of their newly designed website and documents. Furthermore, with the pending lawsuit, the purpose of our conversation seemed to be for the county manager to determine if remediating the website and documents would cost less than a settlement with the citizen.
The call with the county manager is not an exception to the norm. I have had many calls and meetings with Colleges, Government Agencies, Small Businesses, and Fortune 500 companies to discuss the accessibility of their organization to their employees and the public they serve, each time someone openly and unashamedly asks, “What is the least amount we can do to make this site or these documents good enough?”
Good Enough. Good enough is not an answer for accessibility, at least as defined as the minimal amount access. Good enough doesn’t ensure information openly displayed for all can be consumed by all. As a small business owner, I understand how critical it is to drive down costs and expenses. I also understand how critical it is for my organization to be accessible to all potential customers. Good enough is ensuring all persons, regardless of ability can access and utilize all publicly facing information.
We shouldn’t be driven by lawsuits or accountants to determine what is right for our businesses. As business owners or managers, it is our duty to ensure all information we convey is accessible by all persons. A focus on accessibility benefits everyone. Websites built with accessibility in mind are more usable, easier to navigate and find information. Simply put, when your business is accessible to all persons, regardless of ability, you will widen your customer base and see a return on investment in accessibility.
There are many levels of investing in accessibility, but you can take the first step towards advancing access to your organization by ensuring your website is optimized for accessibility by incorporating the following features, which can also optimize your search engine results:
- Ensure alternative text for all images
- Ensure all videos are captioned, provides access for individuals who are deaf or hard of hearing but also for persons who would rather watch the video with the sound off
- Using high-contrast colors for fonts and backgrounds will benefit users with visual impairments and make your site more visually appealing
- Using captions for your videos make it easier to
Good enough means any user can access your content using a range of devices and abilities. Accessibility should not be viewed as a “legality” rather, it is good business. It is our responsibility as business owners and managers to ensure good enough means full access for all persons.