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Web Accessibility—Why Should Business Owners Care?

People with disabilities represent a market too big to overlook. And with so many goods, services and information delivered online, no wonder it is also a legal responsibility to make them accessible to everyone.

If you're a business owner and your website isn’t accessible, you’re shutting yourself off from a huge market of customers that have a need for your products or services just like everybody else.

One in five U.S. adults lives with a disability. Worldwide, 1.5 billion people have some kind of issue with mobility, cognition, hearing, or vision. Serving this market—which is bigger than China’s—isn’t just a moral responsibility but also a legal one, required by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).

Broadening awareness of this issue is crucial. Companies must be accessible to everyone through their business website, especially since the Covid-19 pandemic greatly accelerated the shift online for shopping and services—there’s too much value there to ignore, yet only a small fraction of them currently are accessible. Fortunately, new technology solutions improve Web accessibility quickly and economically.


Accessibility Adjustments Screenshot


Web Accessibility Brings High Returns

Web accessibility isn’t just the law, it’s good for business too. Here’s why:

  • Demonstrating that your business welcomes all enhances your company’s brand.

  • Americans with disabilities account for an estimated $200 billion in discretionary spending.

  • Improving users’ experience can increase time and spending on your site for approximately 20% of the U.S. population—71% of these users with disabilities click away from sites that are difficult to use and 82% would spend more if websites were more accessible, according to a survey by Click-Away Pound.

  • Accessibility improves user experience, which boosts search engine optimization, or SEO.

Web Accessibility Lawsuits Are Dramatically Increasing

Ignoring Web accessibility is costly. ADA Web accessibility lawsuits jumped 12% last year from 2019, according to Seyfarth Shaw law firm. Penalties for a first violation can reach $75,000, hitting not just large corporations but also small and medium-sized businesses.

A site might be accessible overall, but even a few flaws can lead to lawsuits. “Often it’s an attorney looking to take advantage,” says Adam Weiss, CEO of Great Matter, a Los Angeles digital-solutions agency. “It’s frustrating. And you can get sued more than once.”

Attorney Yan Margolin defended a client in such a case. Showing that you’ve done the work on accessibility can ward off opportunistic demand letters, he says.

Automation Finally Makes Web Accessibility Accessible

AccessiBe is an automated solution powered by artificial intelligence (AI) for website accessibility compliance with the ADA and the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) of the World Wide Web Consortium, a global standards body that develops protocols and guidelines for the Web that have been required by the Courts. AccessiBe’s business-friendly solution turns the complex, costly process of making websites accessible to something simple and affordable. Within 48 hours of applying accessiBe on your website, it will be accessible to different disabilities and compliant with ADA and WCAG standards, without any need to make changes in your website’s code, and accessiBe also offers compliant captions and audio descriptions to recordings and videos if necessary. It also automatically scans your website every 24 hours and makes the needed fixes and adjustments so your website stays accessible and compliant over time.

“Web accessibility needs to be accessible to all business owners. AI and automation have made it possible.”

Mr. Weiss says Great Matter aims to make websites and portals accessible from inception. Making a site accessible manually can cost the client at least $20,000, and more remediations are needed in every content and website update, he says, adding, “but it’s not lucrative for us. It takes a lot of time to fix. We would serve the client better if we were saving them money. And we can’t be there all the time to monitor them to make sure they continue to be accessible.”

“With all the guidelines, regulations, different disabilities, browsers, screen readers and assistive technology, which are all constantly changing, we can’t expect business owners, or even agencies, to be experts on Web accessibility,” says Shir Ekerling, CEO of accessiBe. “We need to make accessibility accessible for them. AI can do it.”


Accessible Website Example

AccessiBe also enables website owners to serve users with a wide array of disabilities: it can enlarge the type size and images without throwing the website out of whack. People with cognitive disabilities can reduce distractions on the screen. Users can eliminate vivid colors, flashing images, or animations that may trigger seizures. “There’s a whole customized toolset to enhance the user experience for individuals with disabilities,” says Mike Caprara, CIO of the Viscardi Center, a network of non-profits providing a range of programs and services to educate, employ and empower people with disabilities.

How Can Your Website Become Accessible Today?

The first step is awareness of accessibility and businesses’ responsibility to provide it on their websites or to direct their digital agencies to take care of compliance. The second step, which can be done instantly, is to check if your website is accessible and ADA or WCAG compliant. Business owners and agencies can use accessiBe's free diagnostic tool, aCe, to get answers regarding the level of accessibility of their site. The third and final step is to act upon the recommendations and make your website accessible accordingly.

The scale and urgency of the job is what made accessiBe turn to AI and automation to vastly ramp up the process of making the World Wide Web more inclusive and welcoming to all. “In a perfect world,” Mr. Ekerling says, “we could clap and make all websites accessible. We are on a mission to make the Web accessible by 2025. With more awareness and business-friendly solutions like accessiBe, it’s not just a dream, it’s finally a reality.”

Learn more about the accessiBe product here.


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