Accessibility – Don’t Lose Sight of Your Business
I published this article in 2004 as part of a public relations exercise to promote accessible development but in view of Google’s recent beta release of its accessible search engine here are the highlights of the article…
With customer loyalty and 225 billion residual income at stake, can your business afford not to develop an accessible online Web presence?
Accessibility means: increased market share and penetration, improved usability, simpler maintenance, reduced development costs, optimal search engine readiness, future-proofing and far greater cross-browser compatibility, especially with emergent technologies like hand-held, WAP-enabled and tablet devices which, in commercial terms, mean greater revenue.
The UK’s over 50s are worth £175 billion; the over 45s own 80 percent of the country’s wealth and over 50s have a 30 percent higher disposable income than those under 50 (source: MSN Money).
People in the UK with disabilities have an annual spending power of £50 billion.
It is estimated that over 18 percent of the British population suffers from some form of impairment, be it mental or physical.
There are two million blind and partially-sighted people in the UK (source: RNIB) with roughly 10 percent of the population showing symptoms of dyslexia (source: Dyslexia Action).
And these groups will vote with the back button and leave a poorly designed inaccessible site, often never to return.
It is evident those businesses not intent upon the path of accessible web development will forfeit considerable and ever-increasing revenue as global Internet penetration escalates, permeates homes and leverages the wealth of online purchasers.
The benefits of standards-compliant development are further realised in website visibility with regard to search engine optimisation (SEO) since the resultant markup – the code under the bonnet – is invariably as much as 60 percent leaner, meaning the copy, the surfer-visible content, is more easily accessed and digested by search spiders which gather web content for the likes of Google, Yahoo!, MSN and other search engines.
And with 47 percent of shoppers using search engines to locate products online accessibility simply makes sense.