There are three reasons to consider accessibility in your communications.
First, there’s self-interest. People with disabilities are potential customers. There are over 2 million people with visual impairment in the UK. Around 9 million people are hard of hearing or deaf; about 2 million wear hearing aids. Nearly 1.5 million people have learning difficulties.
In total, it’s estimated that there are 11 million people with disabilities in the UK. So, maybe about 15% of your customers might have some form of disability.
And surely it’s well worth making some simple accommodations for one in six customers?
Second, it’s the right thing to do. As inventor of the World Wide Web, Tim Berners-Lee, put it:
“The power of the Web is in its universality.
Access by everyone regardless of disability is an essential aspect.”
So, the ‘inclusion’ part of your company’s Diversity and Inclusion policy means just that. You’ll want to include all your customers and communities in your communications. (And, of course, it’s also an essential part of your ESG strategy in which the ‘social’ commitments have been shown to bring the biggest business benefits.)
Third, it’s the law. All public bodies are required by regulation to provide fully accessible digital communications. But, even if you’re a private business, you can be in breach of anti-discrimination legislation if you “put someone with a protected characteristic at an unfair disadvantage”.
Accessibility doesn’t just cover design and legibility. They cover the needs of:
- target users
- users outside of your target demographic
- users with disabilities – Vision, Hearing, Cognitive, Motor
- users from different cultures and countries
The rules around accessibility are inevitably complex, but the principle remains simple. Treat everyone as you would wish to be treated yourself.
Because, you know, disability is strongly associated with ageing. And getting older is something that happens to us all.