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How To Make A Strong Case For Accessibility

How To Make A Strong Case For Accessibility

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Useful Templates To Make A Strong Case For Accessibility #


❌ “But accessibility is an edge case. Given the state of finances right now, unfortunately, we really can’t invest in it right now.”

🙅🏽♀️ “I respectfully disagree. 1 in 6 people around the world experience disabilities. In fact, our competitors [X, Y, Z] have launched accessibility efforts ([references]), and we seem to be lagging behind. Plus, it doesn’t have to be expensive. But it will be very expensive once we retrofit much later.”


❌ “We know that accessibility is important, but at the moment, we need to focus on efforts that will directly benefit business.”

🙅🏼♂️ “I understand what you are saying, but actually, accessibility directly benefits business. Globally, the extended market is estimated at 2.3 billion people, who control an incremental $6.9 trillion in annual disposable income. Prioritizing accessibility very much aligns with your goal to increase leads, customer engagement, mitigate risk, and reduce costs.” (via Yichan Wang)


❌ “Why should we prioritize accessibility? Looking at our data, we don’t really have any disabled users at all. Seems like a waste of time and resources.”

🙅♀️ “Well, if a product is inaccessible, users with disabilities can’t and won’t be using it. But if we do make our product more accessible, we open the door for prospect users for years to come. Even small improvements can have a high impact. It doesn’t have to be expensive nor time-consuming.”


❌ “Our application is very complex and used by expert users. Would it even work at all with screen readers?”

🙅🏻♀️ “It’s not about designing only for screen readers. Accessibility can be permanent, but it can also be temporary and situational — e.g., when you hold a baby in your arms or if you had an accident. Actually, it’s universally useful and beneficial for everyone.”


❌ “To increase our market share, we need features that benefit everyone and improve our standing against competition. We can’t win the market with accessibility.”

🙅🏾♂️ “Modern products succeed not by designing more features, but by designing better features that improve customer’s efficiency, success rate, and satisfaction. And accessibility is one of these features. For example, voice control and auto-complete were developed for accessibility but are now widely used by everyone. In fact, the entire customer base benefits from accessibility features.”


❌ “Our research clearly shows that our customers are young and healthy, and they don’t have accessibility needs. We have other priorities, and accessibility isn’t one of them.”

🙅♀️ “I respectfully disagree. People of all ages can have accessibility needs. In fact, accessibility features show your commitment to inclusivity, reaching out to every potential customer of any age, regardless of their abilities.

This not only resonates with a diverse audience but also positions your brand as socially responsible and empathetic. As you know, our young user base increasingly values corporate responsibility, and this can be a significant differentiator for us, helping to build a loyal customer base for years to come.” (via Yichan Wang)


❌ “At the moment, we need to focus on the core features of our product. We can always add accessibility later once the product is more stable.”

🙅🏼 “I understand concerns about timing and costs. However, it’s important to note that integrating accessibility from the start is far more cost-effective than retrofitting it later. If accessibility is considered after development is complete, we will face significant additional expenses for auditing accessibility, followed by potentially extensive work involving a redesign and redevelopment.

This process can be significantly more expensive than embedding accessibility from the beginning. Furthermore, delaying accessibility can expose your business to legal risks. With the increasing number of lawsuits for non-compliance with accessibility standards, the cost of legal repercussions could far exceed the expense of implementing accessibility now. The financially prudent move is to work on accessibility now.”

You can find more useful ready-to-use templates in Yichan Wang’s Designer’s Accessibility Advocacy Toolkit — a fantastic resource to keep nearby.

Building Accessibility Practices From Scratch #

As mentioned above, nothing is more impactful than visualizing accessibility. However, it requires building accessibility research and accessibility practices from scratch, and it might feel like an impossible task, especially in large corporations. In “How We’ve Built Accessibility Research at”, Maya Alvarado presents a fantastic case study on how to build accessibility practices and inclusive design into UX research from scratch.

Maya rightfully points out that automated accessibility testing alone isn’t reliable. Compliance means that a user can use your product, but it doesn’t mean that it’s a great user experience. With manual testing, we make sure that customers actually meet their goals and do so effectively.

Start by gathering colleagues and stakeholders interested in accessibility. Document what research was done already and where the gaps are. And then whenever possible, include 5–12 users with disabilities in accessibility testing.

Then, run a small accessibility initiative around key flows. Tap into critical touch points and research them. As you are making progress, extend to components, patterns, flows, and service design. And eventually, incorporate inclusive sampling into all research projects — at least 15% of usability testers should have a disability.

Companies often struggle to recruit testers with disabilities. One way to find participants is to reach out to local chapters, local training centers, non-profits, and public communities of users with disabilities in your country. Ask the admin’s permission to post your research announcement, and it won’t be rejected. If you test on site, add extra $25–$50 depending on disability transportation.

I absolutely love the idea of extending Microsoft’s Inclusive Design Toolkit to meet specific user needs of a product. It adds a different dimension to disability considerations which might be less abstract and much easier to relate for the entire organization.

As Maya noted, inclusive design is about building a door that can be opened by anyone and lets everyone in. Accessibility isn’t a checklist — it’s a practice that goes beyond compliance. A practice that involves actual people with actual disabilities throughout all UX research activities.

Wrapping Up #

To many people, accessibility is a big mystery box. They might have never seen a customer with disabilities using their product, and they don’t really understand what it involves and requires. But we can make accessibility relatable, approachable, and visible by bringing accessibility testing to our companies — even if it’s just a handful of tests with people with disabilities.

No manager really wants to deliberately ignore the needs of their paying customers — they just need to understand these needs first. Ask for small commitments, and get the ball rolling from there.

Set up an accessibility roadmap with actions, timelines, roles and goals. Frankly, this strategy has been working for me much better than arguing about legal and moral obligations, which typically makes stakeholders defensive and reluctant to commit.

Fingers crossed! And a huge thank-you to everyone working on and improving accessibility in your day-to-day work, often without recognition and often fueled by your own enthusiasm and passion — thank you for your incredible work in pushing accessibility forward! 👏🏼👏🏽👏🏾

Useful Resources #



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