For today’s business owners, their website is their brand’s identity – it’s a platform where they get to tell their story, and it also serves as a portal that enables connection with customers. According to DU Clarion, “By putting in the extra bit of effort to make your website accessible for all, you automatically improve your brand’s reputation, SEO rankings, competitive advantage and customer loyalty base.”
Web accessibility needs to be taken seriously
Web accessibility is still not being taken seriously by many CEOs. Several things need to be addressed online as soon as possible to make digital content fully accessible for people with different disabilities, such as visual or auditory impairments, and Parkinson’s among others. To manage regulatory compliance with ease, many companies today rely on a website archive which enables optimal functionality and easy access. However, more improvement is needed in this area; the Census Bureau data from 2010 shows significant differences between people with and without vision impairments when accessing the Internet and using computers regularly. There are 31% fewer people with a disability on the Internet at home, work, or school.
Avoid legal predicaments
Customers now demand more accessibility compliance from the companies they do business with. In the absence of compliance, they don’t just take their business elsewhere; they file blockbuster lawsuits. Companies like Domino’s Pizza for example have been the target of increasingly common lawsuits related to ADA compliance. Because Domino’s Pizza fought against a lower court ruling to update its website, Domino’s case proved especially problematic.
A recent judgment from the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals has been upheld, so Domino’s lost yet again when the United States Supreme Court declined to hear its petition. In its original ruling, the Court of Appeals stated, “alleged inaccessibility of Domino’s website and app infringes upon public accommodations by preventing access to its pizza franchises and their goods and services.” The decision might encourage more accessibility advocates to sue, even though it could lead to venue closures.
E-commerce companies were the most sued, accounting for 74 % of federal lawsuits during the first half of 2019. The following five most often-used categories were digital media and agencies, food service, finance, and healthcare – each accounting for less than 5% of total lawsuits.
Save Your Brand Image
Insufficient accessibility needs will result in lost profits for your business. Poor accessibility can also result in bad publicity for your business. CEOs need to address accessibility issues as soon as possible. All customers should be able to complete a purchase or access content easily. A company’s accessibility needs to be a priority from the beginning. Rather than doing all this expensive remediation work, having processes that can be accessed at the outset is much simpler.
In addition, companies should regularly audit their web content to optimize their efforts. Making sure that digital content continues to meet the needs of all customers will ensure that you can continue meeting their expectations. You will see your leadership reflected in those you lead when you devote the right amount of attention to this area.