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How to Convince Your Boss or Client to Make Their Site Accessible


This weekend I was at a talk about accessibility where a member of the audience asked how they could convince their boss that they should make their website accessible. He didn't get the answer he wanted!

The conference was DDD East Midlands in Nottingham and the speaker was Rachel Breeze who I have seen talk about accessibility a number of times and always find her talks informative and interesting and always come away learning something new.

It was towards the end of the presentation that a man put his hand up to ask a question, the talk was already overrunning so the question had to be answered quickly and it was something like "Do you have any tips on how to convince your boss that the company website needs to be accessible". Rachel thought for a moment and just said, I don't, even in this day and age, and with the evidence stacked up for why it should be done, morally and legally... it's still really hard to make bosses and clients realise that they need to put in the time and effort to update their websites. 

On the face of it, the sad fact is that this is true. A few years ago when I worked for a web agency in Leeds, we had a major car supermarket for a client. At one of the presentations, I talked about how they should put in the effort to develop and test their site for accessibility. The response was highly dismissive "blind people don't buy cars" was their answer. 

The response is what I was expecting, and in a way, I could see it from their point of view... They didn't understand, there was no law saying they had to do it and making their site accessible seemed like money down the drain to them, so why put the effort in? 

But I did have an answer, I knew I could convince them!

My next slide explained to them that there was one very important user of their site, a user that they would never dismiss, a user that by definition required all the accessibility implementations that they had scorned a moment ago. That user was somewhat colour-blind, could not use a mouse, had a very short attention span and had problems using any interface created using non-standard navigation such as JavaScript... This was a user that they already put a lot of effort and money into getting the attention of...

That user (if you haven't guessed already) is... Google*!

(*Other search engines are available)

Google publish very clear guidelines which state that you should make your website accessible to as many people as you can. The more accessible the website, the easier it is for Google to find, spider and index your content. They rank content on accessible websites higher than on non-accessible websites for this reason. 

If your competitors don't care, it's likely that Google will favour your accessible content over theirs regardless of how many keywords and white hat techniques have been implemented. Your boss or client needs to be a step ahead if not for moral or inclusivity purposes, do it for the page rank and the financial gains that will come over and above the other websites competing for your customers! Do it for all the wrong reasons, but just do it! 

Once this was explained to my client it was a no-brainer for them... Of course. 

So if you are having problems convincing your boss or client to implement accessibility for the right reasons, then always have the Google card in your back pocket!

I really could do with your help! If you find this article interesting, could you please do me a favour by either sharing it on your site or on social media. I would love to hear yours and other peoples' thoughts on this subject. And if this or any other content on the site has helped you and you would like to show your appreciation, then you can always buy me a coffee ☕️ It would make the time I put into this more than worthwhile! Thank you 😃