CONVINCE CUSTOMERS, COLLEAGUES AND SUPERVISORS OF ACCESSIBILITY
Would you like to introduce accessibility? But your boss, your mother-in-law or the butcher think that's stupid, superfluous or expensive? Then here are a few strategies to convince them.
Compliance means being in
accordance with applicable laws and guidelines.
That is very easy. If there are laws, they have to be obeyed, that's that.
There are currently two main types of organizations that are committed to accessibility:
· Public Organizations
· semi-public organizations such as public broadcasting, statutory pension, accident and health insurance
In principle, private companies and NGOs are not obliged. But this may change soon. All organizations that receive public contracts or funds - and there are many of them - can expect to have to deal with the issue of accessibility sooner or later. It makes sense for such organizations to deal with it now, before there are any penalties from one side or the other.
The moral argument
Yes, I know, the poor disabled people and all. Nevertheless, it is the case that a socially oriented organization should also implement accessibility. It's frightening and pretty pathetic when these organizations can't make their interactive applications accessible. If you're too stupid to set up a barrier-free donation process, you obviously don't need our money. If someone wants to reach everyone, there is no way around accessibility.
Corporate Social Responsibility and Diversity
If there are strategies on the
subject of sustainability, social responsibility or personal diversity, an
argument for accessibility can be derived from them. Managers like it when
something fits into their corporate concept.
We always joke that companies don't have to hire disabled people to meet the disability quota. Due to demographic change, most of the workforce will be older than 50 on average. Office workers in particular, who sit a lot and stare at PC screens, are likely to be affected by diseases of the eyes and the postural apparatus. At this age, hearing damage also quickly becomes noticeable. Small and medium-sized companies in particular are not prepared for this. On the one hand, they want and need to keep these qualified people. On the other hand, they have neither the knowledge nor the money to convert their infrastructure, and sometimes they simply lack the will to adapt. Then the kicker is more important than the wheelchair ramp.
The financial argument
In the case of private
companies in particular, the financial argument counts in the first
place. Now the number of those who are actually restricted in the use of
products/services is not equal to the number of disabled people. Only a
fraction of the 7.6 million people with severe disabilities actually have
problems using the internet.
But of course there are people who have problems and there are quite a few. Hundreds of thousands of older people are simply overwhelmed by web applications. Millions of people do not understand what is written on the websites. The costs due to incorrect operation and other necessary support should easily be in the six-digit range for many larger companies.
At this point, let me clear up a fairy tale in the corporate sector: Our customers are not the hip 20-40 year olds, because they hardly earn any money and if they do, they have to spend it on building a family and making a living. Our customers are certainly not under the age of 20, because they have even less money of their own. Our customers are often in their 50s and older. The children are out of the house or old enough to take care of themselves. House and car are paid off. In general, one earns more at this age and at the same time has fewer fixed costs. You have more time to go out, take vacations and buy superfluous knick-knacks like a Thermomix. At the same time, the first aches and pains have a noticeable effect. Hearing, physical and vision deteriorate. You don't get it so quickly anymore how the thing works. It's no longer safe to bend down to turn the thing on or off. So the group of over 50-year-olds is actually the most exciting group.
Nevertheless, almost all organizations really try to zero in on a younger target group. It is clear that the marketing measures should appear younger than the actual target group. No 50-year-old wants a senior cell phone. But marketing is one thing, the product is something else. If in doubt, they will no longer buy the product or return it if they cannot use it. Nothing is more frustrating than a product that is unusable because it wasn't designed properly. The other day I wanted to open a jar of olives and what can I say? In my prime, I couldn't do it with pure physical strength. That can't be true, can it?
The area of e-commerce is particularly interesting for older people. Medicines can sometimes be bought online for 50 percent less. Carrying groceries could be a thing of the past thanks to online supermarkets.
And it is precisely with eCommerce that there are the most problems. This runs through the entire customer journey: starting with the product search, the selection, the registration process and entering the data. When I recently had to buy a new refrigerator, I wanted to give the local electronics store a chance. Since I didn't have time to go to the store, I checked out the offer online. And what should I say? I couldn't even read the prices properly, they had used some technique to make the prices look prettier, but they weren't really decipherable with a screen reader. I ended up going back to Amazon. I just don't have the nerve to deal with such bells and whistles any longer. But nobody should be surprised if online trade continues to monopolize
The Quality Score
There are three strategies for entering the market:
· The market leader tries to sell the highest quantities or services. He sells large quantities and therefore tries to keep the costs per unit low.
· The quality leader tries to deliver the best product or service. He invests more and sells fewer services overall, but has higher profit margins per service.
· The niche guardian tries to establish itself within a niche. He neither sells large quantities nor does he claim to deliver the best product overall. He aspires to leadership only within his niche.
Both the market leader and the
quality leader must strive for accessibility. Accessibility is clearly an
important quality criterion. And without accessibility, full market
penetration becomes difficult.
That's the theory. Unfortunately, the practice is different. There's a lot going on in the computer market: After Apple made accessibility mainstream, Microsoft, Google and Samsung also discovered the topic for themselves. For example, Microsoft is trying to expand Narrator into a fully-fledged screen reader.
Unfortunately, other markets don't work the way we would like. Amazon, the market leader in eCommerce, works quite well in parts. But they can do even more when it comes to accessibility.
Nevertheless, the argument is correct: If you want to be the market or quality leader, you have to ensure that your product is as barrier-free as possible.
The disabled as the norm
The paradigm of the healthy,
all-understanding and dominating customer was never right and of course it
isn't any more today. We have seen the statistics: 7.6 million severely
disabled people, 7.5 million functionally illiterate, millions of older people
with some undetected disabilities, hundreds of thousands with little knowledge
Instead of simply ignoring this reality, as is common today, we should accept it and develop strategies to deal with it. No more ants on food packaging, packaging that can only be opened with special tools and interfaces that require a manual that is a centimeter thick to understand.
Disabled and other customers are encouraged to be more vocal about their needs. Asks if a place is handicapped accessible. Asks if this is not also possible in barrier-free. Asks if you need a number pulling system in an eye clinic. Ask why there are no wheelchair-accessible toilets, no hearing aids. Asks why the speaker seems to be in love with their PowerPoint and not verbalizing it properly.
involve disabled people
In fact, the thing that
impresses people the most is seeing live a disabled person interacting with
their website. The more futuristic, the better: Voice control,
eye-tracking, screen readers - what is particularly important is that it is as
far away as possible from the real life of the people. Because everyone
would say: A person who can't even move his arms can't operate a
website. The aha experience is strongest with the unbelievers. Even
the most rational people are not always convinced by factual arguments. It
is often the emotional rather than the moral aspects that convince them.
At the same time, however, I have to put the brakes on exaggerated expectations. The viewer may be convinced when they walk out of the demo. But such effects rarely last. It usually takes more than one occasion to convince people. So it's more of a combination of the above arguments and strategies.
In addition, people are of course different: some would like hard numbers, others would rather be addressed on an emotional level. So you definitely have to adapt the strategy to the person or group of people you want to convince.
Make it easy
Many agencies and web
developers charge dearly for accessibility. To what extent this is
justified, I will leave out. But the additional effort for people who know
their craft is manageable. Making an installation of Drupal or WordPress
accessible is really not rocket science. Making a
typical text-heavy page with few interactive elements
barrier-free is really not rocket science thanks to the many
frameworks. Taking a surcharge of 30-40 percent for this tends to
strengthen mistrust of the agencies.
Another issue is complex websites with a high degree of interaction. It really depends on how much work the agency has and how intensively it tests. Otherwise, digital accessibility, for example, is simply good craftsmanship. Nor would an editor charge 30 percent more for a spell check or fact check. The agencies and developers should therefore simply implement the issue of accessibility without informing their customers about it. At the latest when he is forced to deal with the topic, he will be grateful for it.