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!
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!
If you find this article interesting, could you please do me a favour by sharing it or commenting below, I would love to hear your and other peoples' thoughts on this subject. Thank you
Date: 10 Oct 2023
Author: Craig Pickles (YorkshireTechy)