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The Billion-Customer Digital Accessibility Opportunity

Gina Bhawalkar
Gina Bhawalkar
Principal Analyst, Serving Customer Experience Professionals
June 27, 2018

There’s a vast population that many companies can’t reach because they design experiences without accessibility in mind — it’s large and growing by the minute. And these potential customers have money to spend:

  • Over 1 billion people worldwide have a disability, and they have over $1.2 trillion in annual disposable income.
  • That number balloons to $8 trillion when you include their friends and family who prefer to support organizations whose products are accessible.
  • The US has seen the over-65 population rise from 35 million in the year 2000 to over 49 million as of 2016, and aging adults commonly experience some loss of short-term memory, vision, hearing, and fine motor function — abilities that many of today’s technologies require.

So why do so many companies ignore this business opportunity of developing websites, mobile apps, and PDFs that are accessible to these groups? Well, many organizations don’t know where to begin — which is why I’ve just written a Forrester report that provides:

  1. Data to make the business case for digital accessibility.
  2. Seven steps to start achieving digital accessibility so that it becomes part of the way you design and develop digital experiences every day.

In addition to the revenue opportunity, one of the business reasons to care about accessibility is that employees’ motivation, and therefore their productivity, rises when they have a sense of purpose — a purpose like the one Apple CEO Tim Cook mentioned at a shareholders’ meeting when he responded to an investor who was skeptical of the business value of Apple’s commitment to sourcing energy sustainably. Cook said Apple does not make decisions solely based on ROI and, as an example, added:

“When we work on making our devices accessible by the blind, I don’t consider the bloody ROI . . . We want to leave the world better than we found it.”

To learn more about the business opportunity in digital accessibility, check out my report: “The Billion-Customer Opportunity: Digital Accessibility.” Now is the perfect time, because the accepted guidelines for digital accessibility (W3C’s Web Content Accessibility Guidelines) just got their first update in 10 years. Let me know your thoughts on the issue, and feel free to contact Forrester for guidance from us on how to achieve digital accessibility.

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