Insights and Inspiration



Digital Accessibility Enters The Spotlight As A Business Priority

Gina Bhawalker | Forrester

When the Covid-19 pandemic struck, in many cases making digital the only channel through which customers could interact with brands, Forrester saw a significant uptick in inquiries related to accessibility, mostly from companies getting serious about accessibility for the first time. The pandemic served as a wake-up call not just about the importance of digital accessibility but about its benefits, like:

  • Tapping into the 1-billion strong market of people with disabilities that has $1.2 trillion in annual disposable income.
  • Serving the rapidly growing aging population.
  • Creating better experiences for everyone — something known as the “curb-cut effect.”
  • Avoiding the legal risk arising from lack of accessibility: In the US in 2020, according to a study from UsableNet, there were over 3,500 digital (web, app, and video) accessibility lawsuits — a 20% increase from 2019.
  • Demonstrating to your customers, and your employees, that you’re serious about your stated commitments to Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DE&I) — because if your products are not accessible, you’re certainly not.

Eight In Ten Companies Are Now Working To Achieve Digital Accessibility  

More precisely, our annual survey of design teams found that 84% of companies are doing the work even though only 36% of companies have a top-down commitment to creating accessible digital experiences. How is this possible? It’s because even in the absence of a formal commitment from the top, grassroots accessibility efforts driven by passionate teams or individual employees are making it happen at 48% of companies.

Given how many companies are working on this, the rise in questions we’re getting on this topic isn’t surprising. Those questions tend to fall in two categories: (1) passionate clients pushing these grassroots efforts forward and looking for tips on where to start, and (2) executives at committed companies who are tasked with establishing or refining the organization’s digital accessibility practice.

In both instances, I’ve noticed recurring themes in the questions clients were asking, and that prompted me to launch a new research project.

Answers To Your Top 12 Accessibility Questions  

Over the last six months I interviewed accessibility leaders within companies, government agencies, and services firms to dig up best practices and examples related to two sets of questions:

  • Questions from companies just getting started, like “How do I convince leaders at my company that accessibility is important?” and “Are solutions that promise quick ADA compliance worth considering?”
  • Questions from companies working to establish or refine their practices, like “What is the right approach to test and monitor experience for accessibility?” and “Why would I need a dedicated accessibility team?”


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