Good weekend to you out there! We the team at www.sterlingcreations.ca are delighted to bring you a very insightful editorial by our president Donna J. Jodhan.
Here now is her editorial of the week.
We wish you a great weekend.
Bad economy and inaccessible websites keep company
By Donna J. Jodhan
You got it! These two often live in each other’s shadows and this is neither a shocker nor a shaker! A bad economy is often the reason and/or excuse that most companies in Canada give for not being able to design and develop accessible websites but wait! It does not have to be a bad economy and so many companies still seem to come up with a reason for not being able to design and develop accessible websites.
This seems to be a global problem but especially at this time when everyone is looking to slash costs everywhere. I can fully understand when a company tells me that there are more important things to deal with other than making their websites accessible. Things such as: Trying to save jobs, cutting overhead and variable costs, and staying alive to fight another day. In light of this picture, we should be prepared to temper our hopes and expectations for the immediate future. We should not expect much from companies in Canada when it comes to making websites more accessible and indeed we should not expect companies in other countries to be any different.
The picture may, and I use the word may very cautiously change when the economy starts to turn around but do not hold your breath for that to happen. Some Canadian companies have tried very hard to make their websites more accessible but it has been a tooth pulling process and on the whole the majority of Canadian companies are either not willing to go the accessible website root or do not care enough to make it happen. The thing is this: There is no real legislation in Canada at the present time that forces companies to make their websites accessible. There is a lot of talk but very little action and when our esteemed government does not even set the example; well, I’ll leave you to finish drawing the picture.
I have a few words of wisdom to offer to anyone who cares to read or listen. Accessible websites should be viewed as a way to attract a wider circle of consumers. Not just persons with disabilities, but those who use older and slower technology and Internet connections, those who are financially unable to purchase faster and newer technology, those who are technically shy, those who did not grow up in the age of the Internet, and those whose first language is not English. Look at it in this way: Yes the economy is bad and yes there are many who will not be able to purchase faster and newer technology at this time; but if companies had taken the time when times were good to make their websites accessible then they would have been better able to accommodate many more consumers in these bad economic times.
What most companies and even our government fail to understand is this: Accessible websites can act as a duo weapon to generate more revenue and reduce costs all at the same time. How, do you ask? Well: More revenue can be generated by attracting many more types of consumers. Not just your mainstream technically savvy type of consumer, but others that I mentioned above. How can costs be reduced? Well, internal costs; less time needed for internal support that would include training, maintenance, and documentation. External costs such as customer service.
So, what I am trying to say is: True it is that a bad economy will not help to foster accessible websites but in good times there is no reason why governments and companies can’t make their websites accessible.