23 May 2017

3 Important Reasons For Web Accessibility

The average American spends almost half of their day staring at a screen. A recently Neilson report reveals that adults in the United States spend over 14 hours a day on digital devices. With those statistics it is hard to deny that the web is an important resource for many aspects of life. For your nonprofit organization it allows you to reach a wide audience. But is it a user friendly website for people with disabilities?  Does your website design allow new and existing clients, donors, or volunteers with a disability access your site the same way as someone without?

Why Accessibility Matters

Web accessibility is an inclusive practice. It works to remove barriers that prevent interaction with, or access to websites, by people with disabilities. It doesn’t mean usable but with someone else’s help, or useable but to a lesser degree than someone without a disability. Sites that are well developed make it possible for everyone to use them; regardless of individual needs or disabilities. 

web accessibility types of disabilities infographic

Digital technology has the potential to be a great equalizer. While those with a disability may have difficulties getting to a physical location. Online services are a convenient ‘anywhere, anytime’ option.  But did you know, in 2016, 70% of websites, reviewed for accessibility, failed the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 2.0 test.

For a nonprofit organization, having an accessible website has many advantages. Below are our top 3 reasons for an accessible and user friendly website.

1. Disabilities are not rare

According to the Americans with Disabilities 1 in 5 self-identify as having a disability. More than 1 in 4 families have at least 1 member with a disability. The disability market touches 53% of the consumer market directly. Any of us may experience a disability in our lifetime.

Response # of Respondents % of Respondents
Blindness 1610 64%
Low Vision/Visually-Impaired 973 38.7%
Cognitive 44 1.7%
Deafness/Hard-of-Hearing 157 6.2%
Motor 60 2.4%
Other 65 2.6%

* Please note that 406 respondents (16.1%) reported multiple disabilities.

More than that. People with tired eyes or screen fatigue, those using a mobile device, or with lousy bandwidth can all benefit by a user friendly website. It can even improve your search engine optimization (SEO) and boost your credibility! 

2. Legality

The U.S. Department of Justice’s (DOJ) view is that Title III of the ADA, requires all private businesses to make their websites accessible to consumers with disabilitiesWhile the wording is still a bit abstract on the digital sphere, it is expected the DOJ may add its own web accessibility standards to the ADA by 2018.
Currently if your nonprofit organization interfaces with, in any capacity, a government agency you must be compliant by law.  
lady justice


3. It’s Dollars and Sense

Your nonprofit organization can also benefit financially by having a compliant website.  As mentioned earlier, if you are receiving any government funding, not having a compliant website can put you in trouble.  But those who have a disability have over $200 billion in discretionary spending. They also can influence the spending of their family and friends.
If all customers can serve themselves online with ease, they are less likely to reach out to your call centers. Your staff will be able to focus on other aspects of their day-to-day work and keep your nonprofit running smooth.

business man, computer and briefcase

Nobody sets out to have an noncompliant website, but many websites are. If your organization invests in accessibility, it’s certain to pay dividends.

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Amar Trivedi

President and founder of AmDee, Amar provides insight of nonprofit technology through occasional guest blogs for AmDee and others. He has been a software developer and architect since the mid-1990s.