The Business Case for Accessibility

Making products and websites accessible is a legal, ethical and moral responsibility. It also makes good business sense. Embracing accessibility will help you to:

  • Boost Profits: In the UK, one in 5 people is disabled, and the so-called Purple Pound is worth an estimated £274bn. 
  • Beat the competition: 69% of disabled customers abandon websites that aren’t accessible and redirect their spending to those that are.
  • Future-proof products and services:
  • Universal design drives innovation. Text-to-speech, TV remote-controls, typewriters and more were all originally designed for disabled people.
  • Design for all: Inclusive Design delivers a better experience for people who are born with a disability, acquire one through age or are impaired by their environment.

AbilityNet offers a range of accessibility products and services


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Reach more people through inclusive design

Designing inclusively will open your virtual doors to billions of potential customers. 

There are 14.1 million disabled people in the UK; 80% of disabilities are acquired, 55% of disabled people are pensioners.  

Plus, each of us is temporarily disabled by circumstance every time we juggle our mobile one-handed or stare squinty-eyed at our screens in the midday sun. 

Design inclusive with our seven steps to inclusive design

Spending power: win the grey and purple pound

Shoes a five pound note rolled up, the £5 is visible at the topCombined, the Purple and grey (retired) pounds are worth billions in potential profits worldwide. 

As well as the £247bn that the Purple pound represents, by 2040 it’s estimated older people, who are more likely to be disabled, will account for 63p in every pound or £550bn, according to the International Longevity Centre (ILC).

Accessible websites win business. 83% of customers with accessibility needs only shop from websites that they know are accessible; 86% chose to pay more for a product from an accessible website rather than one that’s harder to use.

Scope, which offers insights via its Big Hack website reports that 75% of disabled people felt businesses were losing out due to poor inclusive design.

Inclusive Design lessons from a post-pandemic world featuring Scope's Elisabeth Ward

Yet most products and services aren’t age or disability friendly, and if people can’t buy from you, they’ll go elsewhere:

  • 69% of disabled online consumers leave websites that they find difficult to use
  • 50% of disabled buyers don’t finish a purchase when faced with problems using websites and apps. These include issues with navigation, CAPTCHA challenges and a complicated registration process. 

Future-proof: Inclusion drives innovation

Inclusive design equals better design. Design your website for Screen Readers, and it will perform better for Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) and so reach more customers. 

More accessible content makes it easier to repurpose and reuse your content for emerging platforms.

Smart Speakers such as Alexa and Google Home allow anyone to easily access a wide range of information and services that would otherwise be too complex or confusing with existing technologies.

You can also use a smartphone hands-free using tools including iOS Siri. iOS also includes a screen reader calls VoiceOver. 

Accessible to all: the benefits of user-led design

AbilityNet is a Disability Confident Leader, and many of our staff, including our consultants, are disabled, so know first-hand the challenges that disabled people face.

Involving users in your Inclusive Design process will ensure that you’re building accessibility in from the ground up.

AbilityNet’s consultants and extensive disabled user panel will apply expertise and real-life experience throughout the design and development process.

At whatever stage you’re at in the journey towards accessibility within a specific project or across your organisation, AbilityNet can help embed best-practice.

Download our brochure and find out more about our user testing services and focus groups

Disabled people are great innovators. By necessity, they are navigating a world not designed with their needs in mind.

Harvard Law graduate, Haben Girma, is deaf and blind and uses an electronic ‘Braille display’ to communicate with the help of a keyboard she hands to the other person to type out their half of the conversation.

Haben, who spoke at AbilityNet’s TechShare Pro conference in 2019, is currently advising computer giant Lenovo on how to design inclusive products.


Likewise, comedian and Britain’s Got Talent Winner Lee Ridley uses technology to communicate. In 2019, we awarded Lee the ‘Tech4Good Awesome Award’ as an ambassador for the power of tech. 

Our events bring together people across the accessibility community to share knowledge and expertise to both attendees and our clients.

This growing network helps distribute knowledge across the digital community and works towards creating a digital world that’s accessible to all. 

Brand values: ethical consumerism

Embracing accessibility will build your brand, grow reputation and attract customers with a social conscience. 

Companies that focus on ESG (Environmental, Social and Governance) responsibilities are more likely to win customers - particularly in the financial sector. For example, 87% of millennials indicated the importance of ESG in investment decisions. Increasingly, all consumers want to spend with companies who care. In 20 years, ethical consumerism has grown three-fold from £11.2bn to £41.1bn in the UK. 

Key Statistic: Ethical consumerism has grown three-fold to £41.1bn in the UK

There’s significant overlap between the Social and Governance elements within ESG and the drive towards Inclusive design. Experts point to a need to “ensure that all human beings can fulfil their potential in dignity and equality,” which aligns perfectly with our mission to create a digital world accessible to all – and working with our partners to deliver the same. 

AbilityNet is a charity, and the money we make from our accessibility services helps us deliver much-needed tech support and assistive technology advice to older and disabled people at home, at work and in education.

Find out more about the impact we make.

The Legal Bit: UK accessibility regulations

It’s a legal obligation to design and deliver your products and services accessibly. 

The Equality Act 2010 specifically addresses the need for websites to comply with equal access and web accessibility standards, notably WCAG 2.1. 

Moreover, public sector websites now have an additional legal obligation to make sure their websites and apps meet accessibility guidelines. 

  • Any website published on or after 23 September 2018 should have complied by 23 September 2019. 
  • Public sector websites published before 23 September 2018 must comply by 23 September 2020.
  • Public sector apps must meet the regulations by 23 June 2021.

The UK government outlines four steps to compliance on its website, which include:

  1. Check your website or mobile app for accessibility problems.
  2. Make a plan to fix any accessibility problems you find, within reason.
  3. Publish your accessibility statement.
  4. Make sure new features are accessible

Useful links

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