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Lawyers, Accessibility & Money

Suppose you identified an issue on your website that was causing your organization to lose money, tarnishing your organization’s reputation and could possibly land you in court, would you fix it? Of course you would. And then, would you take immediate steps to rectify the issue and prevent it from happening again? Of course you would.

Those same action steps must be taken when it comes to accessibility issues on your organization’s website. 

The cost of not having an accessible website can be significant, both in terms of financial costs and negative impact on your brand. 

The Legal Side of Accessibility

Inaccessible websites exclude individuals with disabilities by making it difficult or impossible for them to access information, products, or services online. As a result, these individuals are deprived of an equivalent experience, which can be considered discriminatory. Failing to comply with accessibility standards can result in legal and financial consequences for your organization. Those consequences can include costly lawsuits, fines, and legal fees.

A byproduct of this type of legal entanglement can create a negative impression of your brand making it appear that your organization does not care about the needs of its customers, especially customers with disabilities. That can very easily lead to irreversible damage to your organization's brand and reputation.

The Money Side of Accessibility

An inaccessible website is difficult to navigate and incompatible with assistive technologies such as screen readers and magnification software. Moreover, the content may have insufficient contrast, which makes it challenging to read and use, leading to an inferior user experience. As a result, users will seek another place to shop, another person to hire, another place to go to school, ultimately causing your organization a loss in revenue and profits.

In 2018, The American Institutes for Research reported "The total after-tax disposable income for working-age people with disabilities is about $490 billion...

That loss of revenue may now prompt your organization to begin remediation steps to correct those accessibility issues. That's great! But remember, making a website accessible after it has already launched can be more expensive than baking accessibility in from the beginning. The cost of making your organization’s website accessible post-launch will depend on several factors, including the size of the website, the level of accessibility your organization wants to achieve, and the current state of the website's accessibility. It's alway best, and less expensive, to "design with accessibility in mind." Build accessibility into every stage of the product life-cycle.

Allocating resources to improve accessibility can have numerous benefits for your organization, including enhancing the user experience for all users, expanding your audience to include people with disabilities, mitigating the risk of legal action and elevating your brand and reputation.


Maggie Vaughan, CPACC
Content Marketing Practitioner