Disability issues like equal rights, equal employment, and complete accessibility to websites hold great importance for the disabled. But do they hold the same importance for businesses out there too? It doesn’t seem so.
According to the Americans with Disabilities Act, imposed in 1990, every business which is operating legally must follow certain standards created for the disabled. Businesses sometimes also need to follow local accessibility standards to keep operating legally in their area.
In this article, we will look at some basic yet crucial reasons why business owners should be more mindful of people with disabilities. And how is this going to help them in the long run?
Reasons why business owners should give more importance to people with disabilities
According to research, there are three ways businesses can be more mindful of people with disabilities.
- By making their websites accessible
- By providing them with equal services
- By hiring people with disabilities
Now, here are the main reasons why you as a business owner should be more mindful of people with disabilities.
A large part of the population has a disability: There are for sure more people with disabilities coming to your business than you are thinking. And if your business isn’t optimized for them, you are losing some serious growth of your business.
According to the first ever world report on disability produced jointly by WHO and the World Bank, there are more than 1 billion people in this world who have some kind of disability.
With such a large number of people with disabilities in the world, it becomes of utmost importance to take care of them. Most of the businesses that do not provide proper services to these people are often unaware of this large population. They tend to assume that investing in the disabled, which according to them are in minority, would not be beneficial.
Disabled people are customers and employees: Another reason why business owners should be more mindful of people with disabilities is that they simply can’t be their customers and employees.
Think of a wheelchair user who wants to eat at your restaurant and use the restroom if they want to. Being more mindful of them as a business owner will strengthen your business’ customers, profiting your business ultimately.
Disabled people have purchasing power, especially the employed disabled ones. If treated equally, they can be your loyal customers.
Google rewards websites that are accessible for all, including the disabled: Your website is as important as your physical store when it comes to the growth of your business. In this internet-dominated world, everything is online.
An accessible website is ranked higher by Google simply because more users flock to the site, including people with disabilities.
For example, if you add an image to your blog post, you will have the option of adding alt text to it. And when you do so, your image is brought up in the search engine’s image search. More importantly, this will make it easier for people with disabilities to understand that image with the help of screen readers.
Businesses may lose millions for not being accessible to the disabled: According to the ADA, every business is legally required to provide equal services to people with disabilities as well as others. If not, they can be sued and taken to court for having an inaccessible website.
Businesses would be required to pay thousands of dollars in fines and legal fees. For example, in 2018, Dunkin’ Donuts was fined by the court when a blind man filed a lawsuit against it for not having an accessible website for the blind. Something similar happened in 2019 when a lawsuit was filed against Dominos after a blind man named Guillermo Robles was unable to order Pizza from their official website.
These two cases give us a clear idea of how bad and costly it could be to not have a business accessible for people with disabilities.
Final Thoughts: Make your business accessible to all
In the article, we took a detailed look at the reasons why business owners should be more mindful of people with disabilities. We also saw the consequences that they might need to follow if they tend to keep disabled people out of their businesses.
From the article, here are a few moral and practical lessons that you should learn as a business owner.
- More disabled people are trying to leverage your business than you think
- Making your business accessible to people with disabilities does not only help them but affects your business’ growth massively as well
- People with disabilities can be loyal customers for your business and help you create a more trusted customer base
- If you don’t become mindful of the disabled people in your business, there can be consequences.
It is time for business owners to be mindful of people with disabilities, and make their websites accessible and inclusive to all. It is not only the right thing to do, it just makes the right business sense!