When it comes to the reasons why digital content needs to be accessible, there are a few approaches. But one that was very common a few years ago was the "Big stick" tactic.
"Be accessible, or you'll get sued".
However, aside from a few high profile cases, the proportion of inaccessible websites compared to the number of cases filed is substantial.
Are people with disability in Australia not making complaints about inaccessible websites?
Are businesses taking feedback on board and fixing issues as soon as they are made aware?
Is the system too difficult to navigate?
Is Australia just not as litigious as some other countries?
There are several reasons why your chances of getting sued over inaccessible content in Australia might be lower than elsewhere. But at the end of the day, should fear of a big stick be the driving force behind your organisations' digital accessibility policy?
Businesses take calculated risks every day, and there is an excellent reason why. Specific policies should be in place from a legal perspective. Policies and procedures exist to keep clients, workers and business interests safe. But as my Nanna always said, "You catch more flies with honey than you do with vinegar".
Ensuring your content is accessible should not be influenced by a fear of legal action. Yes, legal action can be an outcome, but it should not be the catalyst.
It's a competitive market out there, especially in this current and unprecedented climate. Companies spend hundreds of thousands of dollars a year on customer satisfaction surveys. They are acquiring feedback and analytics to try and get the largest slice of their demographical pie.
They say their main objective is to be the best in their field. That they want people to shop with, work with and support them willingly. All because those people know this company organisation is the best in the business.
But when it comes to the accessibility of online content, disabled customers come with a price tag, and the cost often being seen as far too high. First and foremost, though, disabled people are people too.
Disabled people have the same wants, needs, desires and passions as anybody else on the planet. Ensuring your online content is accessible to them and meets their needs should be just as important as any other customer persona you are targeting.
Because for every customer persona that you are building your content for, one in four members of each demographic, will be a person with a disability.
And in Australia, they represent $54 million of combined annual disposable income.