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Why Making Accessible Digital Products is Important for your Business?

10/01/22 6 min. read

Digital accessibility has been a trending topic during the pandemic as digital journeys were the only point of contact for some companies. These companies realised they needed to put more effort on their digital channels to make them more accessible and make sure ALL their customers will be able to use their services.

Making accessible products means your product will be easy to use for people with disabilities, elderly people, people who has a different language as first language, etc. This will be useful for ALL your customers because you have considered people with different access needs.

Some organisations consider they just need to make some (or many) changes in their website or applications before going live to be accessible; so, they could do these changes in the coding or testing phase. However, making these changes in these phases can be too late.

Accessibility needs to be considered up front and in every phase of the product development. It is important to consider people with different access needs to identify their necessities and requirements when using your product and make sure you consider ALL your customers. This has many benefits for your business because will improve the user experience for ALL your customers.

5 Benefits of creating accessible digital products

Benefit 1. Improves your customer experience.

Considering people with different access needs while developing your product will benefit them but also everyone because you will identify accessibility requirements which will be useful for ALL your customers.

It is important to provide a wide variety of features and each customer can choose those features that are better for them. Microsoft Teams have included Live captions which are useful for people with hearing impairments 🦻 but also for people who are in a noisy environment too. Providing more accessibility features in your product will benefit everyone. Your customers will feel your product adapt their needs because there are unique features!

Have you read our post about the 10 commandments of User Experience? . You can’t miss our Meetup where we talk about the 10 keys that UX experts use:

Benefit 2. Gain long-term customers.

People with disabilities tend to stick with one company if they have had a valuable experience. As everyone else, they want to avoid switching providers if it is going to involve more hassle as their product might not be accessible. E.g., if the app is not fully accessible or this is not going to have the accessibility features your customers used to use in their other provider, they might prefer to stay with the same provider and avoid any complications. Why switch if I am happy with my current provider? 🤔

Benefit 3. Increase the number of customers.

customer fidelity

Customers spread the word and tell everyone if their experience have been positive. Then, they recommend your product to other friends and family. This is the case of Apple and VoiceOver screen reader. A software that allows users with visual impairments accessing the content on the screen. The market share for VoiceOver against Talkback (Android) for people with visual impairments is still more than double because VoiceOver is more reliable than Android. Spreading the word is the old technique we used to use before Influencers! 📢

Benefit 4. Approach ALL your audience

Around 20% of the population have a disability. This means 1 out of 5 people is being excluded from using your product if it is not accessible. Besides, the number of people who have a disability is increasing by age. This is having a massive impact in our current aging populations. Generation X are digital savvy and they are closer to be in their 60s. This is when they are considered elderly citizens and the number of people with disabilities at that age range is increased to 46%.  They might add years to life, but they will still want to use your services even if they will develop a poor sight or tremor. Remember, design for your future self!

Benefit 5. No extra costs related to unexpected fines because you do not comply with the law

Considering all your customer needs will let you identify issues that your customers might have when using your product and will make your customers happy. This will avoid unpleasant customer experiences if your customers are not able to use your product, which can incur in lawsuits as you are not complying with law requirements. In 2019, Dominos was sued because their site and app were not accessible. This involved extra legal costs as well as a damage to their brand reputation. Save money of legal costs and use it to improve the accessibility of your product! ✅

At Santander, we know we are not perfect but we keep developing new features that can be helpful for ALL our customers. One example is the Correos Cash functionality incorporated in the Santander Spain app. This functionality allows Santander customers withdraw money using their app and receive this money at home via Correos. This functionality is useful for everyone but especially those people who have mobility problems or do not have an ATM they can use nearby.

These are some of the benefits that making accessible products can make for your business but of course there are others. Just think about your customers and understand there are diverse needs and diverse ways of using your product. So, why not consider ALL your customers in product development and make accessible products?.

Santander Global T&O is a company of Santander Group with more than 2,000 employees and based in Madrid, we work to make Santander an open platform for financial services.

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Rocío Calvo

Rocío Calvo Martín

Santander Group

I work as a UX lead and accessibility specialist at Santander UK. During the past fifteen years I have helped worldwide companies and institutions improving their digital journeys from accessibility and usability perspective. I graduated with a Cum laude distinction from the Universidad Carlos III de Madrid in 2017 with PhD in Computer Science. While doing my thesis I earned Jesús Lorés Award provided by AIPO (Spanish Human Computer Interaction association) and two best paper awards for the results and outputs of this PhD research. In my free time, I love learning and exploring new things, the last thing that I have learnt is how to cook curry sauce.

👉 My LinkedIn profile


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