More than 1 in 5 potential UK consumers have a disability. The online spending power of disabled people in the UK continues to increase and is currently estimated to be worth £274 billion per year to UK businesses.
But what are the consequences of not providing your customers with accessible digital solutions? And could lacking digital accessibility cause your prospective customers to spend their money elsewhere?
Whether your customers live with an auditory, learning, visual, physical, or cognitive impairment, it’s imperative that you provide them with the freedom to access your website and with the ability to use your digital channels as easily as everyone else, despite the potential barriers they face.
In addition to those living with motor or cognitive impairments, the UK also has an aging population. As of 2018, there were nearly 12 million (11,989,322) people aged 65 and above, of which 5.4 million people are aged 75+ and 1.6 million are aged 85+.
Providing this colossal group of customers with accessible experiences is equally important. Not providing them with the experiences they expect is letting a huge segment of today’s market pass you by.
According to a study complete by The Click-Away Pound Survey…
- 71% of shoppers with disabilities click away from websites that they find too difficult to use;
- The majority (82%) of these consumers will pay more money for the same item on a competitor’s website if that site is more accessible;
- These “click-away” customers accounted for around 10% of UK online shopping revenue in 2016 – roughly £75 billion in the UK alone.
Businesses may be entirely unaware of this shortfall to meet the expectations of their customers as according to the same survey, almost 90% of disabled customers do not report the level of inaccessibility of a company’s digital channels, and instead just take their business elsewhere.
To respond to this issue appropriately, you need to know whether the pages, images, and forms (to name just a few) displayed on your website are inaccessible, you need to implement a digital accessibility strategy, and you need to rectify any issues your disabled customers may be experiencing before you’re faced with complaints, or worse, fines.
Could you be facing a fine for not providing accessible digital experiences?
In October 2019, Domino’s Pizza were told that its website and app must be made fully accessible to blind people, after losing a legal case in the US. The case started when a blind man, Guillermo Robles, sued Domino’s in 2016 after he was unable to order food from the pizza chain using screen reading technology.
Though this may be an America-based case and a violation of the ADA (American with Disabilities Act) Domino’s Pizza case is certainly not an isolated event and comparable laws exist here in the UK. The accessibility of a UK website is covered by the Equality Act 2010, protecting all individuals from unfair treatment, and promoting a fair and more equal society.
From the 23rd September 2019, new accessibility regulations have come into force. This means that public sector websites now must meet certain accessibility standards and publish a statement saying that they have been met. Similarly, commercial entities are also being encouraged to comply to WCAG 2.1 level AA and the RNIB (The Royal National Institute for the Blind) have brought legal action upon several UK companies who have flouted this.
Beyond the revenue, beyond the fines, it is just the right thing to do
Although it’s important to recognise and optimise your strategy to respond to missed revenue opportunities, creating accessible digital experiences for your customers is the morally right thing to do.
All businesses should be making these efforts to cater to the individual needs of all their customers. If you are looking to make a start, we can help.
Looking for quick insights from digital accessibility experts?
Our #WhatIf webinars have covered a series of discussions around how to better serve vulnerable customers, how to best respond to customers living with poor mental health and how to optimise your digital channels to ensure all your customers have access to your services.
To enable you to gain quick insights into those episodes we’ve compiled some of our highlights in the video below:
How do I know if my website is compliant to the accessibility regulations?
Whether you’re just starting out on your digital accessibility journey, you’re halfway through creating a compliant digital solution, or you’re already fairly confident that your digital channels are accessible to all your customers, we can help.