Business Case for Web Accessibility | Captain Coder

The Business Case for Web Accessibility

Episode # 092 / Marisa VanSkiver / June 5, 2024

marketing team discussing web accessibility

“Web Accessibility” feels a bit like a buzzword right now. If you’re in the marketing world, chances are high that you’ve heard people talking about it recently and that your website needs to follow ADA standards.

But web accessibility isn’t just a buzzword. It’s a practice that everyone in the marketing world should follow – for your websites, social media, and all of their marketing. It’s not just about compliance, it’s about reaching a wider audience, improving user experience, and boosting your brand’s reputation.

To be blunt, making your content more accessible can be a bit of an investment. Many businesses have put it off, thinking it doesn’t really “apply” to them.

That’s not the case. Providing an excellent experience for all of your customers is incredibly important.

And yet, I understand that you have to go to your boss and get the budget to transform your website and invest in new processes.

So, let’s break down the business case for web accessibility.

What is Web Accessibility?

If you’re hearing many people talk about web accessibility but are still unsure what it means, let’s explain it.

Web accessibility is ensuring that your website (and other digital content) follows a set of standards so that everyone, regardless of their abilities, can access and understand it.

That means you’re creating content so those with visual or hearing impairments, epilepsy, dyslexia, and other disabilities can still engage with your content.

Web Accessibility Standards

When we create accessible websites and content that everyone can use, we follow a few standards.

These best practices are wrapped up in the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG), a set of standards that ensure your website is accessible to all users, regardless of their abilities. WCAG is a globally recognized standard, developed through extensive research and collaboration, and it’s what we, as accessibility professionals, follow.

Those of us in the accessibility space currently follow WCAG 2.2, though a shift toward WCAG 3, which is in development now, is coming soon.

The US doesn’t have its own guidelines, so even though you might hear people quote “ADA issues,” they follow WCAG. ADA is just a shorthand that we understand here in the States.

That’s a lot of technical information; I get it. But it’s important to know that there is a standard that you should be following when you’re creating content for the web. Web accessibility professionals aren’t making this up; we’re following years of research, testing, and best practices that have been honed over time.

Why Web Accessibility Matters to Your Business

I bet you’re thinking, “Great, what does this mean for my marketing and business?”

The first thing you need to know is that we have standards to follow, so accessibility is something you can learn and implement in your business. It’s also valuable to hire a web accessibility expert who can help guide you through creating more inclusive content.

You must also know that implementing web accessibility practices in your business can increase revenue.

You’re Currently Missing People in Your Target Audience

A client once told me that accessibility didn’t matter to them because that “wasn’t their audience.”


Listen, 27% of the US population has some kind of disability, and many of those people use the internet in a way with which you may not be familiar.

It’s not just the size of the population either. According to recent reports, the disabled community represents $8 trillion in disposable income, which balloons to $13 trillion when you factor in their friends and family.

If you’re not thinking about how to make some simple changes to your content, you’re missing out on a massive chunk of your audience and revenue.

To put it bluntly, web accessibility applies to every business and every target audience.

Accessibility Benefits Everyone

Want to know a secret about web accessibility? When you make a website that is accessible to everyone, it’s literally accessible to everyone.

By making your website and your digital content accessible, you’re improving your overall user experience (UX) and even your search engine optimization (SEO).

Simply put – when we design and build inclusively, we’re making our sites better for everyone in our audience.

Increase Your SEO Ranking

When your website is built to be accessible, you will get better found by Google.

An accessible website is built using a better coding structure. We use semantic HTML when coding accessible websites, which helps Google understand your website better.

Because we’re also including ALT tags for images, Google can better understand the context of our site’s images.

Accommodations like transcripts can help audio content to be “read,” and better link structure allows you to take Google through all your website pages.

Accessibility and SEO quite literally go hand in hand.

Accessibility Improves UX

We do many things to make a website accessible, including UX best practices.

For instance, allowing keyboard navigation around our site helps make it easy to use for anyone who would rather tab around than use their mouse.

By clearly labeling forms and buttons, we’re helping all of our users understand what they are filling out or clicking on.

By improving the copy on the page, we’re ensuring that our customers understand what we do and how we help without having to hunt for those answers.

This means that you’ll increase your conversions because your customers will know what to do and how to work with you.

Accessibility Mitigates Risk to Your Business

Remember how I said that the US didn’t have specific rules under the ADA for accessibility for everyone? We’re working on it.

In March 2024, the US passed a final rule for Title II of ADA which applies to state and local governments. According to this new rule, services, programs, and activities that state and local governments offer online and through mobile apps need to be accessible to everyone. Think your local library, city website, or state tax website.

Your business might not be a government entity, but that doesn’t mean you don’t have to follow WCAG standards.

Lawsuits filed against companies for inaccessible websites were on the rise in 2023. Many of these lawsuits didn’t target huge businesses like we’ve seen before, but rather smaller businesses with less than $25 million in revenue.

And your business doesn’t have to be headquartered in the same state as those filing suit. That means your Illinois-based company can be targeted in a California suit.

Your company could be at a big financial risk if it’s not following basic web accessibility best practices.

The Cost of Getting Accessible

You now understand that you need to invest in web accessibility for your business, but what does that cost look like?

Listen, the good news is that if you do anything to improve accessibility, you’re probably doing better than 90% of your competition.

Many WCAG standards include simple steps you can undertake by following better marketing processes.

(I’ve actually got a free cheat sheet you can grab to create accessible content.)

The reality? Your website probably needs a better foundation in web accessibility.

Accessibility is an Investment with Long-Term ROI

Unfortunately, most website builders and drag-and-drop platforms don’t consider web accessibility best practices yet.

Do I think we’ll get there? Yes. But until they get sued, it’s not going to happen.

If you want to protect your business and have your website accessible, you need to invest in a custom website design. This, of course, is going to cost more than having your CEO’s best friend’s son build it for you, but it’s also going to protect your business and help you reach all of your clientele.

Will it net an immediate return on investment? Probably not. But it will pay off over and over again throughout the years.

Phase in Accessibility Practices

Many people I talk to aren’t ready to build a new website.

Instead, you can start making accessibility improvements to your current one.

Start by adding ALT descriptions to every image on your website, and then make sure every video you produce has captions for narration.

From there, you can improve your color combinations (this is incredibly overlooked with social media graphics) or adjust your copy.

Just 3% of the internet is currently accessible to individuals with disabilities, so any adjustment you make will significantly improve their experience.

Making Web Accessibility a Priority

Stop ignoring web accessibility and putting your business at risk. It’s time to ensure your website and other content are as inclusive as possible.

Accessibility is an investment that pays off. Remember, when your website is accessible, you:

  • Reach more of your target audience
  • Have better SEO
  • Improve your UX (which means better conversions)
  • And reduce your legal risk

If you want to phase accessibility into your marketing practices, grab my free Creating Accessible Content cheat sheet. This will get you started and help you refine your current work.

And if you’re ready to tackle accessibility and give your customers a better overall experience, let’s talk.

My team and I can help audit your website and give you the action plan you need to get more accessible. Then, we can perform the remediation to make your website more accessible.

It’s time to invest in a good web experience for everyone.

Join the Conversation!

Create Accessible Content

Ready to grow your business online?

Stop guessing and start following the strategies that work.

Book a Clarity Call