Hosting companies missing the point

Hello there!  My name is Christian Robicheau and I am the assistant editor at
I am delighted to be sharing this weekend with you and I am also delighted to introduce an editorial written by our president Donna J. Jodhan.  This week, Donna shines the spotlight on how hosting companies are missing the point when it comes to providing better service to some of its very important consumers. 
I’m Christian Robicheau wishing you a great weekend.
 Hosting companies missing the point
By Donna J. Jodhan
So many hosting companies are just too busy trying to attract the wrong type of customer.  Yes, and I say this because in their efforts to attract the technically savvy customer, they are managing to rob themselves of some very important ones.  You got it!  Those who are technically shy; those that did not grow up with the Internet.  Those millions of aging baby boomers who have already started to make plans to make the Internet their place of business when they do finally retire.  In addition, we have the millions of disabled consumers who continue to be challenged by complicated hosting panels and hosting companies that do not seem to be able to grasp that they should be starting to do what is common sense and logical.

Shocker or shaker you ask?  Maybe so, maybe not!  Maybe so to those of us who are technically shy or those of us who are persons with disabilities but a shocker to those keen observers who feel that hosting companies are choosing to keep their heads buried in the sand.
Many hosting companies continue to offer hosting panels which offers the customers many flashy features but at the same time they are terribly complicated, not very user friendly, and terribly inaccessible.  Added to this is the attitude of many of these companies.  They are not very helpful when it comes to providing phone support service and they are substituting online support for customer support via phone.  They are doing this in order to cut overhead costs but in doing so, they are inadvertently shutting out millions of customers.  As a general rule of thumb, there are millions of technically disabled persons along with physically disabled persons who are not comfortable using online support in order to communicate with support teams at hosting companies.  Many of our technically disabled consumers grew up in the age of using the phone to communicate with companies and many of them are still in the stage of learning how to use online support systems.
Too many hosting companies are guilty of not remembering this.  Their designers and developers are super great at designing and developing nifty hosting panels that do nifty things but they fail miserably when it comes to understanding why it is so important to make their hosting panels usable and accessible.  There is a huge communications gap between designers and developers and their basic understanding of what is needed in order to make the technically disabled more able and comfortable to use their hosting panels and making their hosting panels more user friendly and accessible to persons with disabilities.
I have had first hand experience with working with programmers and for the most part their heads are primarily stuck to their screens where their main objectives are to design and develop finished products that can perform acrobatic-like tricks, loops, and mind-boggling iterations.  That is all well and good if the end customer is a technically-abled person but when the end customer is one who is either technically-disabled or shy, or one who is a disabled person, all that hard work and panache often ends up being for naught.  What we need to see is a major shift in thinking, designing, and developing on the part of hosting companies.
I would like to paint a very simple picture for hosting companies:
First, you need to realize that your bread and butter consumers of tomorrow will probably be aging baby boomers, retirees, and seniors.  They are the ones who will be diligently seeking ways to make the Internet their new world.
Second, a large group of your consumers will continue to be those persons with disabilities; the blind and visually impaired, the hard of hearing, and those with learning, cognitive and dexterity challenges.  Those with dexterity challenges are unable to use a mouse to communicate with their computer screen.
Third, the majority of consumers will continue to demand hosting panels that are simple and easy to use and understand.  They are not too keen on technical jargon.  They just want the simplest way possible to communicate with their hosting panel and with you.
Fourth, their preferred method of communicating with support staff would probably be by phone and they would demand to speak with staff that can understand them in their native language.
Fifth, there is still a lot of business that will be generated by the mainstream user; those who are technically savvy. 
Sixth, if hosting companies are seeking to maximize their returns, then they will have to find ways to strike a perfect balance between mainstream and non-mainstream consumers.
The future will belong to those hosting companies that will be able to walk the plank of balance but for those that are unable or unwilling to find and define that balance; they are the ones that will probably find themselves gasping for survival.  For make no mistake:  aging baby boomers, seniors, and retirees are the ones who will be pushing the demand for simpler and more straightforward services.

I’m Donna J. Jodhan wishing you a terrific day and weekend.
To reach me, please send an email to and I would be delighted to send you an electronic copy of our latest newsletter.
Here is a complete list of where you can view Donna’s blogs and editorials.
Donna Jodhan!  Advocating accessibility for all 
a weekly feature on important answers to consumers concerns
Weekly blogs for language professionals and accessibility consultants
A monthly editorial on issues on diversity
a monthly editorial on business issues and concerns 
weekly editorials on accessibility issues in Canada
Editorials:  An International perspective on issues of accessibility and disability (under the editorials section, an international perspective)
A general perspective on issues of access and accessibility 

About Donna Jodhan

Donna Jodhan is an award winning blind author, advocate, sight loss coach, blogger, podcast commentator, and accessibility specialist.
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