It goes without saying that accessibility is something that web developers should all be aware of and should all be attempting to reach full compliance with the WAI Guidelines wherever possible.
However, I’m sure that many of you will also have experience of resistence to this from project managers, clients or your direct manager who aren’t interested in supporting the small percentage of blind people out there.
So how can you convince them that they should be embracing accessibility?
Accessibility isn’t just about disabilities
A huge misconception by people who’ve heard of accessibility is that it’s sole purpose is to benefit the disabled.
I’ve heard on numerous occassions comments like…
Our industry won’t be attracting blind users so making a site accessible isn’t important to us.
Not only is this second guessing who will be visiting a website, it’s also missing the point completely. An accessible site does benefit people with disabilities but it also has much bigger advantages in that it can ensure that everyone is able to access a site regardless of disabilities.
Accessibility can improve your search engine rankings
When trying to sell the benefits of accessibility it’s important to remember that most clients want to hear about the benefits of complying with the WAI guidelines to their business. A tactic that I’ve used recently is to explain that not only does accessibility go along way to ensuring that all users will be able to access their webpage but just as importantly, it also ensures that search engine spiders will be able to access a web page.
There are lots of benefits of accessibility other than those that us as web developers feel are important. Yes, we should be doing everything we can to ensure that people with disabilities are able to use the web pages that we create but sometimes this argument alone isn’t enough to convince clients.
Take a step back from accessibility for a minute and consider what is important to your client? In my experience there’s always something that’s extremely important and valuable to a client that can be improved by considering the accessibility aspect of a website.