Mark Lapole is a Senior Product Manager and Ambassador for Accessibility at eBay.
If I were to tell you that a simple adjustment to your website will:
- Increase the size of your target audience
- Differentiate your brand from competitors
- Drastically reduce the likelihood of your company facing litigation
Would you get in line to sign up?
While it can be easy to think that digital accessibility is just a box for your company to check, in reality it is an opportunity for your company to be better at what it does.
Your company’s approach to digital accessibility should be a part of its business model, public brand perception, and most importantly, its very DNA.
Take eBay as an example. eBay’s digital marketplace was founded on the idea that “People are basically good.” The fact that everybody has something that they can contribute is inherent in this idea. When everybody is contributing, eBay is thriving.
When you realize that an inaccessible website could exclude 15% of the world’s population from participating in eBay’s community, it’s clear you may be missing out on a rather large opportunity. By excluding the disabled population, eBay would be missing out on:
- Everything the disabled population can contribute to its community
- A huge opportunity to further embody its guiding principles
- A chance to stand up as an example of inclusiveness amidst a rising wave of litigation around digital accessibility
And frankly, providing everyone with equal access to our community, regardless of how they interact with it, is simply the right thing to do.
There is a lot to be said about the financial benefits of digital accessibility (and the $1.2 trillion in disposable income that comes with it), but at the end of the day its impact extends well beyond your quarterly statements. Whether or not your mobile apps and websites are accessible is a reflection on your brand as a whole, and its ability to genuinely do what it claims to.
By working with Applause and ensuring that our mobile apps and websites are compliant with industry standards, eBay is in a better position to avoid missing out on these opportunities and reap the financial benefits of an increased market and greater goodwill. But most importantly, eBay is now able to continue doing what it does so well - only more effectively and with broader reach.
The challenges of digital accessibility have ultimately provided eBay with an opportunity to become an even better version of itself. By improving the accessibility of our apps and websites, more people are now able to contribute their own unique perspectives to our community. With this greater diversity of perspectives comes a broader variety of goods for sale, and more needs being met through our community every day.
Stay tuned for a follow-up post highlighting best practices for creating a company culture which helps promote accessibility.