Benefits of Accessible Design
Accessible designs often benefit everyone. The most obvious group to benefit is people with disabilities. Independence and access is possible when public and digital spaces are built with accessibility in mind.
Organizations benefit from accessibility in several ways:
- The organization stands out as one committed to equal opportunity and fairness;
- The business product becomes more compatible/usable for more people;
- Good markup, thoughtfully composed content, and text alternatives can improve search engine optimization (SEO);
- Inclusivity increases customer base;
- Funding eligibility from outside sources (like government) increases;
- Chances of a lawsuit due to inaccessibility decreases.
In addition to people with disabilities gaining more independence, and businesses increasing engagement with their product, other groups in society often benefit from accessibility. Some examples of accessible designs that have benefited people without disabilities:
- Curb cuts
- Dual height water fountains
- Automated doors
I would venture to guess that you have used most of the "features" I've listed. On a more dramatic note, independence for people with disabilities:
- Relieves a dependency burden from family and friends, and
- Increases interaction between people with and without disabilities, allowing for more friendships and meaningful companionship.
Accessible design creates better access for everyone, but that shouldn't be our motivation. Access is a human right. Public and digital spaces should be accessible to people with disabilities. Accessible design isn't a nice-to-have, it's a must-have because it makes things possible for people with disabilities.
- Blind People Don’t Need Your Help—They Need Better Design by Joanne Furio (2016)
- The Truth of ROI of Web Accessibility by Karl Groves (2019)
- Ethics in the Digital Accessibility Legal Space by Lainey Feingold (2019)
- Shifting from Fear to Motivation when Talking about Digital Accessibility Law by Lainey Feingold (2017)
- Accessibility and SEO: Real Talk by Caitlin Cashen, Deque (2019)
- The Curb Cut Effect: How Making Public Spaces Accessible to People With Disabilities Helps Everyone (Medium article)
- When Accessibility Gets Labeled Wasteful by Crippled Scholor (2016)