You already know it's important to be inclusive. You want to reach more people and communicate in accessible ways. The difficult part is, how do you convince decision-makers that it's important to include accessibility projects in the budget? In this article, we'll give you a few key points to help you justify the investment.
Accessibility will help your business communicate with the the 44% of adults in Australia who have low literacy levels. It will also help you share information with the 18% of Australians with disability. If your website, documents or forms are not accessible, this could lead to frustration for almost half of your audience.
It's not just people with low literacy who appreciate accessibility. Everyone might benefit from clear communications and easy-to-use websites. For example, executives are often time-poor and value the opportunity to rapidly absorb the information they need. When you reach more of your audience, it can help increase the number of clients you work with.
Accessibility can lead to more user-friendly experiences for many people. Publishing content as a web page (HTML) rather than PDF can have many benefits for your audience. For example:
- A screen reader might struggle to read an accessible PDF but usually works smoothly on web pages.
- A web page that loads incrementally might work better than an acessible PDF in areas where the internet speed is slow or unreliable.
- A web page that can be adapted to work on laptops, tablets or smart phones might work better than a PDF of some devices.
According to the World Wide Web Consortium, clients might have more loyalty to a brand if their interactions are smoother, more positive and customised to their needs. If your clients feel more loyal, they might be more likely to stay with you for the long-term.
In our focus groups, we have found that when you create documents and websites that meet the needs of your audience, they are more likely to feel respected. They are also more likely to engage with, and understand, your message and follow guidelines. If you want your client to fill in an online form, follow instructions or pay a bill on time, then accessible communications are important.
The Disability Discrimination Act 1992 (Cth) says it is against the law to discriminate against a person because they have a disability. This means they have the right to equal access to education, employment and services.
Australia follows the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD).
The UNCRPD says people with disability have the right to:
- seek, receive and communicate information and ideas on an equal basis with others
- choose how they want to receive information.
The UNCRPD also says information must be made available:
- in formats that suit the needs of people with disability
- in a timely manner
- at no additional cost.
Do you offer your communications in a range of formats that are available at the same time? If not, it might be time to consider if you are meeting your legal obligations.
Accessibility is good for the community
There are many reasons why accessibility is good value for money, but it's not just good for business.
Here are some words from one of our document testers, Vassie, about the impact of Easy Read.
"I think it's useful and important because it impacts many types of communities. It supports people who struggle to read and write for a number of reasons. This might be because English isn't their first language, or they have an intellectual disability, or a learning disability. They might have had less educational opportunities. Easy Read means more complex information can be shared with more people. They can understand the information if it's in a format that meets their needs."
Would you like more support to justify accessibility projects to your team? Talk to David Saxberg, our Inclusion Advisor with lived experience. You can call him on 0478 299 419. David works Tuesdays and Thursdays.
Are you ready to get started with your accessibility project? You can request a quote on our website.