We’re expected to do more digitally now than ever before and with that, there’s a risk of leaving a large proportion of the population behind. That’s because barriers on the web still exist. For many businesses, their digital presence is unwelcoming to the 7 million internet users in the UK with digital access needs - an audience worth £24.8 billion, to be exact.
Digital access needs are needs which arise as a result of an individual’s disability when interacting online. It’s true that 1 in 4 users with access needs find it difficult to use more than half of retail websites due to the barriers they experience. When they hit a barrier - what then?
70% will leave a website, taking their spending power to an accessible alternative. The cost of this equates to an estimated £17.1 billion - and that’s the click away pound.
So, what can you do to tap into this market?
Before we fill you in on the benefits businesses are reaping from web accessibility software, let’s explore the challenges faced by this untapped market.
As a diverse market, access needs can arise from a variety of disabilities including vision and hearing impairments; literacy difficulties; cognitive challenges; and, neurodiverse conditions such as dyslexia, autism, dyspraxia and adhd.
But one thing this audience has in common is that often the digital world is one where they feel excluded, dependent, and a place they don’t belong.
Common online barriers include;
As we’re uncovering the barriers, you might be thinking ‘our online visitors will tell us if they’re experiencing barriers on our site’ - and you’d be wrong.
People value independence. Only 8% of users with digital access needs will contact a business about barriers they experience. And, even if they wanted to reach out, over half of users struggle to fill out contact forms due to inaccessible fields and reCAPTCHA tests.
A solution that’s helping this audience to navigate the internet independently is the use of assistive technology. In fact, research has found that all users with digital access needs, 63% of those with disabilities, use assistive technology on the web.
Assistive technology is any software, application or device that supports people with disabilities, and improves their ability to do things independently in everyday life.
When browsing the internet, the most common forms of assistive technology include screen readers, text magnification, and speech recognition software. But such supports aren’t always available, and that’s where web accessibility software can help.
Only 1 in 10 people in need have access to assistive technology due to the high costs. Largely, those with access needs are using assistive technology in the form of built-in accessibility features on smartphones and apps. That’s why more and more businesses are recognizing the benefits of providing web accessibility software on their own websites.
Web accessibility software includes inclusive toolbars, such as the ReachDeck Toolbar, which helps online visitors to interact with digital content in a way that suits them best.
With the ReachDeck Toolbar, users can remove on-page distractions using the simplify feature, or have written text read aloud through text-to-speech functionality. From text magnification to screen masking, its features benefit a wide range of individuals with various needs.
Used by organizations across the globe, the ReachDeck Toolbar is supporting online audiences across both public and private sectors. It's freely available on sites including local city councils, NHS services and large corporations, helping essential information reach every visitor.
Being proactive, by providing a digital inclusion tool like the ReachDeck Toolbar, can help you to increase your business revenue, but also empowers you in your legal and moral obligations to web accessibility.
Ensuring that everyone feels welcomed by your digital presence is the right thing to do - but it’s also crucial to remember your legal responsibilities to do so.
Existing legislation puts the onus on you to ensure your website is accessible in line web accessibility guidelines, otherwise you could be breaking the law. The ReachDeck Toolbar can support your efforts, by opening up your digital content so that it’s available and accessible to everyone. Not only that, the ReachDeck Toolbar is only one feature within the ReachDeck software.
ReachDeck is our accessibility and inclusion software. In addition to the ReachDeck Toolbar, it also includes the ReachDeck Auditor and the ReachDeck Editor. Auditor is a WCAG compliance checker that automatically scans your website for compliance errors. And Editor is a content authoring tool that helps everyone in your organization to improve the readability of their online content. Combined, these features help you to improve the accessibility, readability and reach of your digital content.
Want to know more about ReachDeck? Visit our dedicated product page. From there, you'll also be able to arrange a free trial.