A team is asking about (or debating) the value of building accessible experiences.
Some product owners will ask this question in an earnest way because they want to explain it to their own designers and developers. Others will directly challenge the value, even while accepting it as a legal requirement.
Find out what’s important to them
Take the time to discover what metrics or values are important to a team.
Not only does this build a good rapport with the team, it shows them you understand their goals and are more than a compliance officer.
Accessible designs are the best customer experience for everyone. There are precisely 0 reasons why accessible design and code is not also beautiful and easy to use.
Search engine optimization
SEO and accessibility cover many of the same concerns
- Meaningful page titles and meta description also display on SERPs
- Logical headings help search engines understand the page structure
- Lists become featured content on SERPs
- Descriptive links differentiate content for search engines
- Breadcrumbs reinforce site structure
- Alt text for images and other non-text content help search engines understand the page
- Using plain language makes a page more likely to align to a customer’s search
- Sitemaps help search engines index the site
Available studies indicate accessible designs consistently convert better
- High contrast forms and calls to action receive more interaction
- Large target areas for buttons and interactive features make it easier for everyone to become a customer
Sales and conversion
26% of US population have a disability and that number is only getting bigger as the population ages.
Consumption and views
Captions on video are found to increase consumption on mobile apps because people can consume them in a greater variety of situations.
For example, someone in a noisy place like an airport can understand the video and conversely, someone in a quiet place like an office can watch a video on mute.
It doesn’t take longer to write accessible code, but remediation certainly does.
Accessible also code ships with fewer bugs requiring budgeting for re-work because it’s more rigorously tested as it’s being developed
Meeting leadership expectations
Accessibility score targets
Your enterprise should be setting measurable targets that leadership expects teams to meet.
The values a company upholds are often very meaningful to leadership, and can provide moral and ethical leverage to make change happen.
Every organization has a set of values, often including core ethical tenets like treating people with respect or doing the right thing. Use these existing values to advocate for your organization to fulfill its existing mission. You’ll come across as partners, not as activists or as a tech fad.
If this doesn’t work
As always, don’t be the police.
If a team continues to resist or question the value of accessibility, follow your team’s escalation procedures and leverage leadership to define priorities.