Make it Accessible – An Appeal to the Business WorldPublished on
Does your business take steps to be all-inclusive?
Make it accessible. What does that mean? It means giving everyone the opportunity to access something. In this case, we’re talking about your company’s services. Making your content accessible matters to more people than you may realize.
Think specifically about how your business communicates information to its customers. Are there any potential barriers? Chances are your company isn’t intentionally excluding anyone but it could still be happening. It hurts both you and your customers when groups of people aren’t able to access your services.
One group that has often been overlooked is people with visual impairments. Ask yourself, “How easily could I understand my document if I had a visual impairment?” Chances are, you need to make it accessible. So let’s take a look at some common areas of inaccessibility in businesses.
Why Inaccessibility is a Problem
The world is a highly visual place. Businesses know this, and use this information when trying to appeal to customers. This includes designing eye-catching ads and providing information about their company and services in written form. So, what does that mean for people with low or no vision? It means that unless alternate formats are provided, businesses are making it difficult for people with visual impairments to be customers. Luckily, making it accessible is an easy fix.
What Needs to be Made Accessible?
In short, every piece of content you have.
Some examples of documents that you should offer in alternate formats are health information forms, notices, invoices, contracts, banking forms, and menus. While this isn’t a complete list, it demonstrates the widespread need for accessibility. People with visual impairments need access to the same services as everyone else. By not offering documents in alternate formats, your business is losing potential customers and profits.
How to Make It Accessible
Documents are an essential part of most businesses. You understand why it’s important but you might be wondering, “How can I make it accessible?” Great question! There are several ways to become accessible. You can offer the following as alternate formats to standard print or inaccessible PDFs:
- Large print
- Accessible PDF
- Audio files
The Cost of Not Being Accessible
Businesses have a legal obligation to be accessible to those with disabilities. Some relevant laws to be aware of are Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). The government enacted these laws to make sure people with disabilities are not excluded. Not following these laws can have severe consequences and lead to lawsuits. If your company isn’t providing services to people with disabilities, someone else will. In other words, you’re giving up customers by not being an accessible business.
Making it Accessible is Beneficial
There are many benefits of being an accessible business. For example, immediately you will increase the number of potential customers. Don’t forget, they are consumers with billions of dollars to spend. By simply offering alternate formats of your documents, many more people will be able to use your business’ services.
Another benefit is that people respect and seek out socially responsible businesses. People will look upon your company favorably. Ensuring that everyone is included and has equal access is the ethical thing to do. When your business provides people with visual impairments the accessible documents they need, you’re showing everyone that you care. Unfortunately, many businesses are not accessible. So, by making your content accessible, you can earn the loyalty of your customers.
As mentioned in the previous section, another benefit is that you will be compliant with accessibility laws. They aren’t going away, so accessibility laws can’t be avoided. Getting started on accessibility now will make things easier for your company in the future. Honestly, there is no downside to being accessible.
How We Can Help
Now that you’re ready to make it accessible, we can help. We’ve proudly been “making the world a more readable place”™ for nearly 30 years. It’s best to offer a variety of alternate formats to make sure your reach all of your customers. Whether you’re looking for braille, large print, accessible PDF, or audio – we can do it! If you want to learn more, you can check out some frequently asked questions or contact us.
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