One of the arguments frequently made about why businesses should take accessibility seriously is that by failing to address accessibility significant money is left on the table. Time and again the basic argument goes something like the following:
There is this sizable untapped market of people with disabilities just waiting to spend money. If you make your web site comply with accessibility standard X, you too can tap this market and get part of the money just waiting to flow through your newly-made-accessible web site.
Today in twitterland, a UN fact sheet on disabilities is circulating that is the latest to make this assertion.
In the United Kingdom, 75 per cent of the companies of the FTSE 100 Index on the London Stock Exchange do not meet basic levels of web accessibility, thus missing out on more than $147 million in revenue.
Make no mistake, I’m all for accessibility ffor many reasons. That said, I’d love to see these claims about how much money is being left on the table be supported with more factual economic impact data. Consider this blog posting more of a question to the vast online community. Have people found quality economic studies to back these claims up? I’d love to see a business example that shows where company X invested a certain dollar amount in improving accessibility and saw Y return on that spending.
A couple weeks ago I gave a presentation on Windows 7 at Accessible World for people who use screen reading technology. The audio of my prepared part of the presentation can be found at http://www.kellyford.org/audio/win7demo.mp3. A text transcript of the presentation is at http://www.kellyford.org/random/win7demo.txt.
Well, this press release isn’t exactly my idea written about here previously of not buying printed books until the publishers make electronic copies available but it is definitely in the right direction. Public money needs to equal public accessibility.
LOS ANGELES, Oct. 6 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — The Reading Rights Coalition (RRC), which consists of thirty-one organizations dedicated to equal access to the printed word by people who are blind or who have other print disabilities, announced today that the Los Angeles Public Library system has agreed to suspend purchase of inaccessible e-books using the Adobe Digital Editions (ADE) format. The library was informed by the RRC that ADE e-books cannot be accessed by technologies used by the blind and others with print disabilities, including devices that read text aloud or convert it into Braille.