Accessibility is not a new concept.
We’ve been prioritizing accessibility in the physical world for years. But where we fall down is in the digital space. Everyone is aware that our lives are more dependent on technology than ever—companies are investing more in digital services. But as the world moves online, some people are at risk of being left behind.
Digital products have provided several benefits. For many, they make life simpler and more straightforward, giving them fast access to services. However, this isn’t the case for everyone. The UK Office of National Statistics shows that the proportion of adults with a disability who use the internet is still below the expected average. In other words, adults with a disability use the internet less than adults who are not.
While many businesses have been prioritizing fast advancement in technology, generally, we haven’t stopped to scrutinize the effect this has on people who are less able than others.
And it’s an issue which doesn’t just affect those with a disability. Digital-first generations are also, for the most part, younger generations. But as this generation of digital-natives ages, they are more likely to develop visual, hearing, motor and cognitive issues. How will this impact how they use digital products and services in the future?
If technological advancement isn’t done right, businesses risk excluding large groups of people. After all, accessibility is all about inclusion. And inclusion should be at the forefront of business priorities.
Inclusivity makes a difference
First and foremost, accessibility and inclusion are a simple matter of ethics. Most people are likely to experience a disability, or someone they know will experience one, at some point in their lives. A disability can impact anyone—so we all benefit from accessible products.
It’s a legal requirement
Thousands of lawsuits are filed every year against businesses whose websites or apps aren’t accessible for those with a disability. There were 2,258 disability lawsuits filed in US Federal and State Court in 2018 alone. And all UK organizations must abide by the Equality Act. Lawsuits are not only bad publicity, but they are also costly and time consuming for your business.
There are financial benefits
UK disabled households alone have a spending power of £249 billion. By making products and services as accessible as possible, you can potentially reach more customers and grow your business. By investing a little to make products more accessible, a business could see excellent returns for their efforts.
Your business will stand out
Accessibility isn’t just good for your business’ reputation. It can help your business stand out from the crowd. It’ll make you more appealing to users, and to other businesses that may want to work with you.
At Onfido, we help businesses verify people’s identities via our integrated app. Access is at the heart of everything we do—our entire product revolves around giving people access to online services. We recently undertook a project to make our app more accessible.