Everything a Startup Needs to Know About Accessibility
| 3 minutes read
Accessibility refers to the ability of individuals with disabilities to access and use digital technologies, products, and services.
In today’s world, where technology is omnipresent, accessibility has become more important. Businesses and organizations must make their products and services accessible to people with disabilities. Accessibility also means making physical spaces wheelchair-accessible or offering sign language interpreters at events.
On the digital landscape, accessibility refers to:
⦁ Adding alt text to images
⦁ Properly tagged PDF for screen readers and search engines to read content efficiently
⦁ Having a descriptive label for controls
⦁ Adding audio descriptions and captions for videos
⦁ Making content operable through other input devices apart from keyboards
Why is Accessibility Important in Startups?
Since accessibility is important for businesses, why should startups care for it? Here are seven reasons startups need to consider digital accessibility:
⦁ Maximized Business Growth
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, one in every four adults in the United States, which is 26% of the US population, has some kind of disability. These figures show that as a startup owner, you can reach the people left out due to their disabilities. And this can happen when you make your startup accessible.
Millennials and Gen Z rely heavily on technology and the internet to access everything. So, you cannot exclude people with disabilities if you are reaching for maximum exposure for your business. You need to start being inclusive for maximized business growth.
⦁ Protection Against Legal Actions
Whether you are a small startup or a multimillion-dollar business, you won’t be able to escape the legal drawbacks if you don’t adhere to the laws of accessibility. The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) makes it compulsory to include people with disabilities to prevent discrimination against them. And anyone who does not comply with this law is bound to see expensive lawsuits against them.
⦁ Easier to Incorporate in Startups
The increased size of an organization may make it challenging to incorporate accessibility into your daily business operations. An established organization has a system, like an already-built website or software. So, disturbing its core structure can become a hectic task. But with a startup, you’re building everything right from scratch, so it’s easier to incorporate accessible features in your app or website to make your digital presence accessible to everyone, regardless of their disabilities.
⦁ Better Adoption of Best Practices
By understanding the importance of accessibility for startups, you can adopt the best practices when it comes to accessibility. Understanding accessibility is crucial for growing businesses that wish to adopt the best practices in their industry. For example, if you understand the importance of accessibility for startups, you’ll know what is required to make your website accessible to your customers, regardless of their abilities and disabilities. You’ll know what best practices you must adopt to reach a wider audience.
⦁ Improved Company Reputation
Providing accessibility as a startup not only keeps you out of any legal troubles but also helps improve your organization’s reputation. When companies prioritize accessibility in their products or services, they demonstrate an understanding of diversity and create an image of being socially responsible. This can boost customer loyalty as people are more likely to support brands that align with their values.
Moreover, accessibility also helps attract new customers who may have previously been excluded from using these products or services due to various barriers. By making offerings accessible to all potential customers, startups can tap into new markets and increase revenue streams.
⦁ Diverse Hiring System
Not just customers but even your employees can benefit if you incorporate accessibility in your startup. Everyone has the right to work in a supportive and inclusive environment regardless of physical or mental challenges. Offering accessibility benefits for employees with disabilities can enhance the diversity of talent within an organization. By embracing these individuals’ unique abilities, startups can create a culture that values every employee’s contribution while fostering innovation and creativity. Additionally, facilitating an accessible workplace enables employees with disabilities to work more productively without facing unnecessary barriers or obstacles.
Furthermore, when startups invest in accessibility solutions like assistive technologies such as screen readers or voice recognition software, they demonstrate their commitment to inclusivity and diversity.
⦁ Improved Search Engine Optimization
The process of search engine optimization revolves around optimizing your website and content for it to rank on the first page of the search engines. However, many businesses overlook one critical aspect: accessibility.
For startups, incorporating accessibility into their websites can be a game-changer in improving their SEO rankings. Why? Because search engines like Google prioritize accessible websites that provide an optimal user experience for all users. If your website is not accessible, you risk losing potential customers who may leave because they cannot access the information they need. This, in turn, affects your bounce rate and page load times – both important factors that affect your ranking on SERPs.
Whether for your customers or employees, today, technology plays a vital role globally. Besides complying with the legal requirements, accessibility for your startup can help your business grow by reaching a wider audience and also creating an inclusive environment.