Brands have an ethical and legal duty to provide their customers with accessible digital content. Of course, accessibility is also good for business: It’s an investment that pays off through improved customer experiences, healthier search engine optimization (SEO), and stronger engagement rates.
To really make the case for inclusive design to key stakeholders, you might need some statistics. While the return on investment (ROI) of accessibility varies from company to company, a 2022 paid report from Forrester Research estimated that accessibility and user improvements bring back $100 for every $1 invested.
That’s certainly an impressive number — but the true value of accessibility may be even greater.
Below, we’ll show how accessible design can improve everything from marketing efforts to customer service expenses. If you’re ready to take the next steps, send us a message to connect with an accessibility expert.
Accessibility can dramatically improve conversion rates
A number of factors can influence conversion rates, including your brand’s reputation, the complexity of your sales process, and the level of commitment required from users.
Accessibility can improve all of those factors:
- Research shows that consumers are more likely to support businesses that publicly commit to diversity and inclusion. An accurate accessibility statement is a practical way to show that commitment, and it’s an essential part of an accessible website.
- The four key principles of accessibility are perceivability, operability, understandability, and robustness (the POUR principles). Those concepts help you build content that appeals to all users — and often results in a less complex sales process, which helps sales leads turn into customers.
- Clear, simple language and instructions can show your leads exactly what you want them to do. That can reduce the perceived commitment of a call-to-action (CTA).
It’s no wonder that accessibility improves bounce rates and other key eCommerce metrics. And even if you don’t operate an eStore, accessible design can have an enormous impact on conversions from day one.
Accessibility benefits marketing efforts
The Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) are the international standards for digital accessibility. Published by the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C), WCAG promotes better user experiences — and can also help you bring more people to your website.
The marketing benefits of accessibility are well-established:
- Many WCAG requirements can improve search engine optimization (SEO) efforts. Descriptive page titles, accurate alt text, and semantic HTML help search engines find (and rank) your content.
- Other criteria can improve engagement. Adding captions and transcripts to videos, for example, can help social media videos gain traction with users who browse with sound disabled. Captions also improve brand recall, making each video more impactful.
- Worldwide, at least 1.3 billion people have disabilities. Those users are an important part of your audience, and if your website isn’t accessible, you’re locking some of them out — and when content is accessible, people will spread the word.
An accessible website can decrease operating expenses
We’ve discussed ways that accessibility can improve your profits, but your expenses are an equally important part of total ROI calculations.
Accessible digital products can help here, too:
- A user-friendly website can reduce the need for dedicated customer support staff.
- Accessible websites tend to have well-written code and markup, which translates to lower long-term development costs.
- Accessible websites are well-positioned for compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and a range of international disability non-discrimination laws. Needless to say, lawsuits are expensive — and compliance is in your organization’s best interests, particularly if you market to government agencies.
Of course, to realize all of these benefits, you’ll need to think about users with disabilities during the development process. Web accessibility remediation is always worthwhile, but it’s less expensive when you’re building on clean code and semantic HTML.
Embracing accessibility can provide powerful competitive advantages
Whether you’re selling to businesses, consumers, or government agencies, accessible design helps you stand out from the competition.
Unfortunately, most websites have serious barriers that impact users with disabilities. By prioritizing the experiences of real people, you can help to build a better internet — and enjoy a nice ROI, regardless of your industry or target audience.