The Disability Market

A Good Business Decision

In today’s world, the Websites are the digital “front door” to businesses and non-profits. Unfortunately, many websites are inaccessible to people with disabilities.

Businesses that have put in ramps and elevators, and offer Braille signs and large print menus, have generally not created websites that are useable by people with disabilities. As a result, the new “front door’ of these businesses are inaccessible to the disability community.

There are some compelling reasons for corporations to view the Disability Community as a potential market:

  • Demographics – although demographics on people with disabilities are difficult to quantify, current demographics say that as many as 20% of all U.S. citizens have some disability. As the population ages, the number of people with disabilities will continue to grow.
  • Legal Issues – the Americans with Disabilities Act may require some companies to provide accessible products and services, particularly those related to architectural design. As schools and public accommodations work to provide computer access, these computers may be seen as public accommodations covered by the ADA. Additionally, many companies are motivated by Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act, and by Section 255 of the 1996 Telecommunications Act.
  • Improved Design – designing products for people with disabilities can create products that are not only more useable by people with disabilities, but by all users. Many existing products that were designed for people with disabilities are now used by a wide range of non-disabled users. For examples, click here.

As companies recognize the potential of the disability market, CforAT can be a valuable resource.. Companies wishing to work in this market will want to test products with actual users with disabilities. We have provided this kind of venue for other companies in the past.

Another way we have worked with companies has been providing feedback to companies that produce computer products. In our work with people with disabilities, we often see simple adaptations that could make products better, and we appreciate the opportunity to work with companies to create better products.

Our hands-on experience and broad client base gives us access to information that is of value to companies trying to create more user-friendly products. We welcome additional work with companies interested in Universal Design principles, and that are trying to use those principles to create more useable products.