Part 1 - Selling Accessibility

Selling Accessibility - The "Why?"

Not everyone in the digital space knows what accessibility is, a large percentage of those in the IT field are intimidated by it, and only a handful of people actually care to do anything about it. But if you're reading this, it probably means you care.

Photo Credit - JD Mason

Photo Credit - JD Mason

While at a company in Atlanta I started to see accessibility as something of importance but seemed to be the only person who cared about it. If you are starting out on the journey of improving your company's accessibility here are a few tips on how to sell it.

First, think about your audience and what their goals are. Everyone is different and you have to tailor your sales pitch to each person's view. My CIO was only concerned about not being sued, My VP was obsessed with new and cutting-edge technologies, and my manager was interested in delivering projects on time, avoiding rework, and increasing SEO. Believe it or not, taking accessibility into account from the beginning can help with all of these issues.

Here are the main points I made when selling accessibility to my company:

  1. Legal Repercussions - Multiple large-scale companies in our industry, such as Starbucks and McDonald's, had been sued for millions of dollars for digital accessibility issues. This hit close to home for the executives.
  2. Advancing Technologies - People were beginning to use voice interfaces more commonly to order food. A similar design for voice interfaces has to be used for people who are blind or have low vision.
  3. Market Share - Around 19% of the U.S. population has a disability according to the 2010 census. Over 260,000 people in the state of Georgia reported having a visual disability.
  4. Tech Savvy Aging Population - The wealthiest generation, the Baby Boomers, were heading into retirement with money and lots of free time. The majority of them were comfortable with laptops, tablets, and phones and used them to complete many of life's tasks. As they get older, they would likely become dependent on the accessibility features of their devices.
  5. SEO - Basic accessibility helps with improving SEO with ALT tags and other features that help both bots and people with disabilities better understand a website.
  6. Cost of Retrofitting - For every $1 spent in the design phase to fix a problem, it would cost the company around $100 to fix the same problem in production.

These are just the reasons I came up with, but there are plenty more that may make more sense to your audience. Understand what your company wants and then create your sales pitch around that.

In Part 2 of this series, I'll discuss the "How" on selling accessibility inside a company. 

B Parsons