Last week on Blueprint, we kicked off our new 3-part series on website accessibility from a small business perspective, covering the consequences of poor accessibility. Here we’ll look at why, despite the consequences, an overwhelming majority of small business websites still aren’t accessible.
We’ve identified 6 key reasons why small businesses fall short on web accessibility.
1. Lack of education
Many small businesses simply don’t know about web accessibility, how to implement it, and what kind of impact it could have. The first step for all small businesses is to understand the basics.
2. Lack of time
In a small business, every minute is dedicated to customer service, client work, sales, and marketing. Even if they’re aware of accessibility, the owner and any employees likely already have a full schedule juggling other tasks (tasks with more immediate consequences).
3. Lack of money
Some businesses implement website accessibility best practices by outsourcing these tasks to a web developer, content creator, or a small team. But that costs money. Most small businesses use their funds to cover their costs of running, and then any leftover money is used to grow the business, buy more products, or hire more staff. Very few small businesses are ready to invest a lot of money in web accessibility.
4. Lack of resources
A lot of small businesses are run by just one person or a very small team. Everyone in the business already wears a lot of hats, and they probably don’t have someone dedicated to content or managing their website - much less web accessibility best practices.
Website accessibility can feel pretty overwhelming, especially at first. It can feel like there’s no end to the list of things you need to add, remove, fix, and update so you can be compliant. Plus, with technology and web platforms changing all the time, accessibility can seem impossible to get on top of.
6. Lack of consequences - so far
We’ve talked about the potential consequences of poor website accessibility for small businesses. But only a small percentage of businesses have felt any real impact so far. Most lawsuits have been targeted at bigger businesses (who can pay a decent settlement), although that doesn’t mean small businesses are immune to legal issues. It’s only a matter of time before more customers complain and file lawsuits, in which case web accessibility will be a higher priority for small and big businesses alike.
Is web accessibility even possible for small businesses?
In short - yes. Web accessibility can be a challenge for small businesses, but it’s not impossible.
Part 3 is coming next week where we’ll discuss some ideas and solutions that even small businesses and content creators can follow to improve web accessibility.
Because, while there may be some reasons why you don’t yet have an accessible website, you shouldn’t let that stop you from taking action.
Imperfect action is better than perfect inaction.
Maybe you have some stories about your own challenges with web accessibility. Or maybe you’re already doing a great job of web accessibility and you have some ideas to help combat the challenges we’ve listed here? Either way, we’d love to hear what you think.
Follow us on Twitter so you don’t miss part 3 and tag @joinTiny if you’d like to continue the conversation.