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Prioritizing Website Accessibility: The Business Case

In our increasingly digitized world, website accessibility goes far beyond compliance. It’s not just about ticking off boxes on a legal checklist or meeting moral obligations. It’s about strategically positioning your business for success while fostering inclusivity and equity. Whether you’re a large corporation, a small business, a government agency, or an educational institution, prioritizing website accessibility is not just the right thing to do – it’s a savvy business move.

Understanding Website Accessibility

Website Accessibility includes the design and development of online platforms to ensure that everyone, regardless of their abilities, can access and interact with them. At its core, it’s about providing equal opportunities for engagement and information access for those with physical or situational disabilities such as visual or hearing impairments. Guided by standards like the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG), you can ensure your digital presence is inclusive and user-friendly. 

The WCAG outlines four main principles of website accessibility: perceivable, operable, understandable and robust. 

  • Perceivable: “Users must be able to perceive the information being presented (it can’t be invisible to all of their senses).” For instance, a website should provide text alternatives for images so that visually impaired users can understand the content through screen readers.
  • Operable: “Users must be able to operate the interface (the interface cannot require interaction that a user cannot perform).” This means ensuring that all interactive elements are accessible via keyboard navigation, allowing users who cannot use a mouse due to injury or disability to still browse the site effectively.
  • Understandable: “Users must be able to understand the information as well as the operation of the user interface.” This could involve providing clear instructions and error messages, as well as using simple language and layout to facilitate understanding for users with cognitive disabilities.
  • Robust: “Users must be able to access the content as technologies advance (as technologies and user agents evolve, the content should remain accessible).” This entails using coding practices that are compatible with different browsers and assistive technologies, ensuring that users can still access the content regardless of how technology changes over time. (Forbes)

These principles are designed to ensure that websites are accessible to all users, regardless of their abilities or disabilities.

The Importance of Website Accessibility for Businesses

The narrative around website accessibility is consistently evolving, shifting from a focus solely on legal compliance to one that encompasses social responsibility..

  • Moral Responsibility vs Legal Obligation: We all know meeting legal standards is important, but the ethical commitment to accessibility speaks volumes about the essence of your brand.
  • Brand Image and Customer Engagement: Accessible websites boost your brand image and create positive consumer experiences.
  • Expanding Market Reach and Inclusivity: By making accessibility a priority, your business can engage a significant market segment – the 16% of the global population and 26% of the U.S. population living with disabilities, as per WHO and CDC data.
  • Resonating with Informed Consumers: A significant segment of consumers make purchasing decisions based on a brand’s stance on social or political issues. In fact, the 2018 Edelman Earned Brand study revealed that 64% of consumers worldwide would choose to buy from or boycott a brand based on its positions on such issues.

Taking a Stand: By incorporating an accessibility policy and linking to it in the footer along with other significant policies (e.g., privacy policy), your business can display your commitment to accessibility.

Benefits of Having an Accessible Website

Accessible websites also provide tangible benefits that directly impact business outcomes.

  • Wider Audience Reach: Accessibility opens doors to individuals who may have been excluded from engaging with the content otherwise.
  • Improved SEO and Search Rankings: Accessibility improvements often align with SEO best practices, enhancing visibility, improving bounce rates, and driving organic traffic.
  • Enhanced User Experience: Accessible design principles make websites more navigable and user-friendly for all users, not just those with disabilities.

Legal Protection and Positive Brand Image: Compliance with accessibility standards mitigates legal risks while bolstering brand reputation.

The Financial Case for Prioritizing Website Accessibility

Despite concerns about upfront costs, investing in website accessibility yields substantial returns in the long run.

  • Increased Revenue and Market Share: Accessibility can capture lost revenue and tap into an underserved market.
  • Cost Mitigation and Legal Risk Reduction: Proactive investment in accessibility can prevent costly legal disputes down the line.

Innovation and Competitive Advantage: Accessibility fosters innovation, driving the development of products and services that cater to the needs of your diverse customer base.

How Website Accessibility Improves User Experience

Have you ever tried to watch a video (or had one autoplay) in public? Without captions, engaging with video content could be prohibitive. Even if you’re not visually impaired, you’ll appreciate being able to navigate a website where the text isn’t uncomfortably small or whose color contrast doesn’t strain your eyes.

While most of us typically use a mouse to navigate a website, you may occasionally find yourself in a situation where you’re limited to the keyboard — perhaps because you’re holding a wiggly baby, for example, or even having technical issues with your hardware. (We call these “contextual limitations.”)

It’s also much easier for visitors to navigate menus and text headers with keyboard shortcuts, and they can read text and view images with no trouble.

By prioritizing accessibility for your disabled visitors, you’re also prioritizing usability for all of your website visitors. And when a site is easier to use, it’s more likely to attract and retain customers and readers.

The Role of Website Accessibility in SEO

Who doesn’t want to improve their SEO? Google and other search engines are primarily text-based, meaning they can’t search through the speech in your video and audio content. Closed captions and transcripts help with SEO because they provide text that can be discovered and indexed by Google and other search engines, helping users find the relevant information on your website. To figure out which sites are the best fit for a certain query, search engines analyze factors that indicate readability and relevance. For example, they may scan to see if text is divided into helpful subsections, measure how quickly people leave your site after they land on it, and crawl text for certain words or phrases that indicate what the page is all about.

By paying more attention to how website content is organized and making sure to label the information properly, you’re helping humans as well as search engines dissect the information properly.  

For example, providing descriptive alternative text (commonly known as “alt text”) for photos and official headings (or “canonical tags”) correctly is crucial for visually impaired people using screen readers who want to understand the site content. However, those things are also sometimes used by search engines that need to “understand” the content on each page. Accessible websites not only provide better user experiences but also improve search engine rankings, leading to increased visibility and engagement.


The business case for website accessibility is clear. It’s not just about checking a technical or ethical box; it’s about seizing a strategic opportunity to drive growth, enhance brand reputation, and foster innovation. As the demand for accessible content continues to rise, investing in website accessibility isn’t just a choice – it’s a necessity for long-term success. Let’s prioritize accessibility, not as an obligation, but as an opportunity to build a more inclusive and sustainable future for all. Ready to ensure your website meets accessibility standards? Contact us to schedule a comprehensive website accessibility audit today!