There are many reasons you should care about accessible communications. But to get started, we’ll cover these five.
1. To comply with disability rights laws.
If you read our blog about accommodations, you already know that many countries enforce accessibility via human and civil rights laws. These laws apply to any organization. This includes businesses, educational institutions, government entities, and more. Regardless of industry, everyone must provide equal access to employment, healthcare, goods, and services.
With this comes the need to make customer communications accessible to those with visual, auditory, or cognitive impairments. These laws include:
The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) in the United States — a civil rights law,
The Accessibility for Canadians Act and The Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA) in Canada, and
The Accessibility Act in the United Kingdom, etc.
2. To meet accessibility standards.
In addition to national laws, many industries have specific accessibility standards. For example, the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG). WCAG provides standards for website and digital document accessibility. By prioritizing accessible communications, you can ensure you meet these standards and avoid legal penalties. Which brings us to a major reason you need accessibility.
3. To avoid discrimination claims.
Each year, the number of litigations and lawsuits about accessibility rises. If your organization doesn’t provide accessible communications, you’re risking discrimination claims. These can result in costly legal battles, negative publicity, and damage to your business reputation.
4. To expand your business market.
There is an often overlooked, untapped market here. People need accessible communications. And more and more, requests for proposals come with accessibility requirements. By focusing on accessibility now, you can provide a level of service to customers that your competitors don’t.
5. To create a more inclusive environment.
Yes, offering accessible customer communications is a legal obligation. But it’s more than that. It’s a way to create a more inclusive and welcoming environment for all customers. By making communication accessible to everyone, you can serve everyone. It’s a way to demonstrate your commitment to diversity and inclusion and build a more loyal customer base (aka lifelong clients).