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Proof Accessibility Matters

Recently, an article from HubSpot titled "Website Accessibility: 25 Statistics that Prove It Matters" was shared with me by a colleague. It's chock-full of solid, research-based facts and figures on why accessibility really does matter.

The article cites Paul Smyth, the Head of Digital Accessibility at Barclays, saying website accessibility "boils down to three things: the legal requirements, the commercial opportunity, and the moral imperative." This message couldn't be more straightforward.

The author organized the article into three sections: General Accessibility Statistics, Web Accessibility Statistics, and Website Accessibility Testing Statistics. I've chosen a single statistic from each section and delved a bit deeper to illustrate the significance of each selected statistic.

General Accessibility Statistic

"Globally, the market that includes people with disabilities as well as their family, friends, and advocates are estimated to control over $13 trillion in annual disposable income." (The Return on Disability Group, 2020) 

Everyone who shops online does it differently, from ordering a new shirt to a late-night dinner. Some people have high-speed internet, and some don't. Some people shop using cell phones, and some use a tablet or laptop. Some people use a screen reader or navigate using only a keyboard.

No matter how they shop, every customer experience is an opportunity for that brand to succeed or fail. Alienating your customer because of an accessibility barrier, such as failing to design for keyboard-only navigation or neglecting to add captions to your videos, not only results in lost business opportunities but can ultimately harm your brand's reputation and potentially lead to legal consequences. Let’s face it: ​​Digital accessibility plays a significant role in providing a good customer experience.

According to the W3C’s Web Accessibility Initiative (WAI), "Accessible design considerations often lead to improvements in general customer experience and loyalty," and "accessibility provides options that are useful to all customers in various situations." It's a win-win for ALL your website visitors.

And keep this in mind, too. Making your website accessible also boosts your search engine optimization (SEO) efforts AND improves your organic search rankings.

Website Accessibility Statistic

"86.4% of home pages have low contrast text. Low contrast text, which falls below the WCAG 2 AA thresholds, is the most commonly-detected accessibility issue." (WebAIM Million, 2021

Also mentioned in the report is this fact: "On average, home pages had 31 distinct instances of low-contrast text."

Thirty-one instances on a single page. Wow! It's a wonder anyone could read the text on those pages, not to mention someone with low vision or a form of color blindness.

Proper color contrast is vital for people with visual disabilities because it significantly impacts their ability to perceive and understand visual content.

Proper color contrast not only improves accessibility but also legibility and readability. Have you ever been outside on a beautiful, sunny day and tried to read a webpage on your mobile device? If the webpage was designed with accessibility in mind, you were probably successful in your quest.

You can take several easy steps to help ensure proper color contrast on your website:

An additional success criterion, 1.4.1 Use of Color, references the contrast ratio for links that are differentiated by color alone.

  • Use a solid color background instead of patterns or images.
  • Test your colors for proper contrast. My second favorite contrast testing tool is WebAIM's Color Contrast Checker. (DubBot being my first choice.)

Achieving the proper color contrast between text and background ensures that all users can access, interact with, and appreciate your website. 

Website Accessibility Testing Statistic

"67% of web accessibility practitioners rate web accessibility overlays, plugins, or widgets that automate accessibility changes in web pages as not at all or not very effective. (WebAIM Million, 2021)" 

No big shocker here. In a blog post titled The Problem with Overlays, I referred to a blog from Accessibility.Works that assert overlays "can only detect ~30% of WCAG issues in the first place. This is because the WCAG is nuanced and interpretive."

With the explosive use of artificial intelligence (AI) in almost every aspect of digital life, makers of accessibility overlays, plugins, and widgets now claim "their AI POWERED widgets will provide ADA compliance to avoid lawsuits." Yet, according to the 2022 year-end report titled "ADA Digital Accessibility Lawsuits Trends Involving: Websites, Mobile, or Video" (PDF) from UsableNet:

"Businesses using accessibility widgets received 575 lawsuits, a 36% increase from 2021. Many of these lawsuits also list the widget features as a barrier to equal access in addition to WCAG violations and other user web barriers."

In 2021, "over 700 accessibility advocates and web developers signed an open letter calling on organizations to stop using these tools, writing that the practical value of the new features was "'largely overstated' and that the 'overlays themselves may have accessibility problems.'"

Using overlays on websites and applications may seem like a convenient solution to address accessibility. Still, overlays can create a false sense of security, leading website owners and developers to believe they have resolved accessibility issues when, in reality, they have merely placed a Band-Aid on the problem. 


In today's digital age, where the internet plays a central role in our daily lives, web accessibility is not just a matter of compliance; it's a commitment to inclusivity and social responsibility.

As we move forward, let's work together to create a web that is truly accessible to everyone, regardless of their abilities, and reap the rewards of a more equitable digital landscape.


Maggie Vaughan, CPACC
Content Marketing Practitioner