October 27, 2009
How Much Money is Really Left on the Table From Missing Accessibility?
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.
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.
Posted by Kelly at October 27, 2009 3:31 PM
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Accessibility statements about lost revenue have been tried and they are just not believable. They assume for a start that all disabilities are the same and everyone can be lumped as a group - it is not true. Blind users have different needs to elderly people. In the US, more compelling statements can be made about the lack of a spanish (or chinese) site or a site supporting dial up users better. These blanket statements have not worked to motivate businesses to embrace accessibility. Lets move on, forget the hyped up numbers and tried to identify what might provide the motivation to support at least some of the accessibility story.
Posted by: chad smith at October 28, 2009 5:26 AM