Illustration of a spider looking at a laptop with a magnifying glass

You have a “brand experience” gap and it’s costing you more than you know

$3.65 trillion in revenue is up for grabs for those willing to build accessible experiences:

  • Total global e-commerce revenue is $5 trillion USD.
  • People with disabilities, plus their friends and families, account for 73% of consumers.

The math is simple. And that’s only e-commerce. What about banking, insurance, healthcare, travel, streaming services, gaming, sports, news…? The list is endless. 

That’s today’s picture. What about tomorrow?

On top of all this, the future of your business rests in the hands of digital natives. Gen-Z (the demographic cohort born between 1997 and 2012)—and likely all generations after them—see the world through a digital lens and believe accessibility is a human right, just like other types of diversity, equity and inclusion. They’re highly connected, have strong opinions, act on them, and share their opinions across social media. With that in mind, making and keeping your web properties accessible and creating accessible digital user journeys is a business issue that your future may depend on. 

Creating accessible experiences inevitably involves understanding the interactive business flows on your website as well as how different forms of digital content work—or don’t—for people with disabilities. Whether it’s a retail purchase, signing up for and accessing financial, insurance, or healthcare information, or making travel and hotel reservations, accessible user journeys have never been more important. 

Think about banking alone: With so much sensitive information being exchanged and legal content to understand, it’s a potential minefield for people with disabilities. Imagine applying for a credit card and the form fields aren’t clearly marked or you can’t hear instructions properly. What if you couldn’t find out how your sensitive information would be used or what the credit terms are? Users can quickly find themselves lost, or worse, saddled with extremely high rates and fees they can’t afford. 

The potential cost of inaccessible healthcare websites can be catastrophic. I’ll just leave it there…

So, the case for creating accessible user journeys for everyone—today and into the future—is clear. But what about your existing interactive website processes and content? How do you ensure that new and existing processes and content stay accessible once they’re in production? The simple truth is…you can’t, not without help. Verifying accessibility in production sites is accomplished with “crawlers” (also known as spiders). These are automated programs that skim through a page’s content and essentially take notes on it. For instance, Google uses crawlers to index sites for search. Other crawlers scan pages for quality or security issues. Accessibility crawlers skim entire sites to detect accessibility barriers. But standard accessibility crawlers can’t test dynamic processes. So, problems with these processes can easily slip through and are essentially invisible to the accessibility professionals monitoring your site. Testing them means manually walking through each one, flagging issues and sending them back to development for expensive and time-consuming remediation. This is a slow, painful, and extremely inefficient process that too often happens after the issues have caused bad customer experiences, resulting in lost business, lost revenue, and a damaged brand.

So, what now?

Automation is key. While traditional accessibility testing crawlers are an important first step, you must have deep, holistic visibility into your user experience and all associated content. The larger and more complex your web properties are, the more critical this context becomes. Accomplishing all this by manual testing alone is literally impossible. As quickly as modern websites change, even an army of manual auditors working 24/7 could never keep up. You need comprehensive, automated coverage, and you need it at scale.

Deque’s axe Monitor is the only accessibility monitoring solution that automatically scans interactive business flows with multi-step pages along with static content and PDFs in your production websites. Axe Monitor recognizes processes like insurance forms and retail check-outs and acts like a synthetic user, walking through the process step by step to discover accessibility issues.

PDF documents hosted on your website are subject to the same accessibility requirements. But, checking them thoroughly can be difficult at best. Most web crawlers do a poor job of checking PDFs, relegating these documents to extensive manual testing to ensure accessibility. Axe Monitor automatically checks PDFs along with web content and dynamic processes. Regardless of what type of content you have or how it was created, making and keeping it accessible is now much easier.

Build a cohesive approach

It’s a form of change management requiring the commitment, the plan, and the tools to ensure the ongoing accessibility of your web properties: 

  1. Get control of your current situation. Axe Monitor automatically scans and reports on your current processes, content, and PDFs. It delivers complete, actionable and easily understood reports. Stakeholders can drill down to get a detailed view of your most important processes and pages to prioritize action on the most business-critical issues first.
  2. Keep it simple. Getting the complete picture of your digital properties in one place is crucial. Built to monitor accessibility at scale, axe Monitor provides a single place to track and manage risk, see what’s changed over time, and react quickly to new issues. You can even trigger automatic notifications when scan results vary significantly from the last scan, improving response time even further.
  3. Report effectively. Different stakeholders have different, role-specific interests and responsibilities in making and keeping web properties accessible. They need reports that quickly enable them to act on those responsibilities. For instance, compliance and legal teams need to understand the level of risk to reduce lawsuits and address compliance audits, while accessibility teams need to understand how people with disabilities experience the site to fix obstacles or bottlenecks.
  4. Plan and collaborate across stakeholders. Business leaders, product owners, accessibility professionals, and developers must work together to clearly define business flows and create scripts to monitor even the most complex processes. They must include traditionally crawlable content and extensive PDF checking as well to deliver a comprehensive view of production websites. 

By making–and keeping–your website accessible, you can be sure that all your potential users have a great user experience and are able to easily access your products and services. Everyone wants a great experience, and not just for themselves. Today, 71 percent say they are willing to put their money where their values are. And, as mentioned at the beginning, this will only increase with Gen Z and the generations after.

The Worldwide Web Consortium notes that “Accessibility overlaps with other best practices such as mobile web design, device independence, multi-modal interaction, usability, design for older users, and search engine optimization (SEO). Case studies show that accessible websites have better search results, reduced maintenance costs, and increased audience reach, among other benefits.”

Yes, accessibility matters—to everyone—your current and future customers, your employees, and your company. It’s a business issue, and there are more than 3 trillion reasons to work with Deque. We stay on top of accessibility so you can stay on top of your game.

Talk to us to find out more. 

Photo of Sachin Gupta

About Sachin Gupta

Sachin is the Director of Product at Deque. He has almost 15 years of experience in technology development, leadership and management. Sachin has experience across multiple industries including financial services, retail, and telecom services. He has led various technology and services implementations. He is interested in all aspects of digital accessibility, including accessibility program management and document accessibility, and has given multiple talks in these areas. In addition to his work experience, Sachin has an MBA from the University of Iowa. Sachin is a believer in action-oriented approach, and promotes small incremental changes that lead up to a larger goal.