The post below was written in the fall of 2019. Six monthslater, accessibility is not just good business, it is critical to business.
On October 7, 2019 the United StatesSupreme Court denied a petition from Domino’s Pizza over the legalrequirements of website accessibility. This left a decision from a lower court,in favor of Mr. Robles, a blind man who sued the pizza chain for aninaccessible website, in place. At the heart of the pizza chain’s argument is whetherthe ADA legally requires their website to be accessible. My question is, whywould you not want to have a fully accessible website? Isn’t reaching as manyconsumers as possible just good business?
I recently took a call from a county manager in anotherstate who oversees the website for their small municipality. The managerreached out to TCSAccess for information on initiatives and processes to maketheir website and county documents accessible to their citizens withdisabilities. The impetus for the call was lawsuit stating the county site and onlinedocuments are inaccessible. They needed to find an accessibility solution.
We discussed the importance of accessible information but asthe conversation progressed it was clear the county had not considered theaccessibility of public information nor had they budgeted for accessibilitytesting or remediation of their newly designed website and documents.Furthermore, with the pending lawsuit, the purpose of our conversation seemedto be for the county manager to determine if remediating the website anddocuments would cost less than a settlement with the citizen.
The call with the county manager is not an exception to thenorm. I have had many calls and meetings with Colleges, Government Agencies,Small Businesses, and Fortune 500 companies to discuss the accessibility oftheir organization to their employees and the public they serve, each time someone openly and unashamedly asks,“What is the least amount we can do to make this site or these documents goodenough?”
Good Enough. Good enough is not an answer for accessibility,at least as defined as the minimal amount access. Good enough doesn’t ensureinformation openly displayed for all can be consumed by all. As a smallbusiness owner, I understand how critical it is to drive down costs andexpenses. I also understand how critical it is for my organization to be accessibleto all potential customers. Good enough is ensuring all persons, regardless ofability can access and utilize all publicly facing information.
We shouldn’t be driven by lawsuits or accountants todetermine what is right for our businesses. As business owners or managers, itis our duty to ensure all information we convey is accessible by all persons. Afocus on accessibility benefits everyone. Websites built with accessibility inmind are more usable, easier to navigate and find information. Simply put, whenyour business is accessible to all persons, regardless of ability, you willwiden your customer base and see a return on investment in accessibility.
There are many levels of investing in accessibility, but youcan take the first step towards advancing access to your organization byensuring your website is optimized for accessibility by incorporating thefollowing features, which can also optimize your search engine results:
Good enough means any user can access your content using arange of devices and abilities. Accessibility should not be viewed as a“legality” rather, it is good business. It is our responsibility as businessowners and managers to ensure good enough means full access for all persons.