RE: Updated again: "Web Accessibility is Smart Business" Presentation

Just catching up on messages. I agree quite a bit with the blog post you've cited below. As Rob mentioned, "Based on the numbers and facts presented a businessman would have to discount the presentation as made up or one simply with facts just not in evidence".   I think this harms the credibility of both the presentation and presenter.


I do, however, like Sharron's tree graphic quite a bit.  I would like to make sure that it include only things which are directly attributable to accessibility and things that would have a business benefit.  Most of the ones Sharron has included fit these criteria, which is good.  


The thing I like most about Sharron's tree graphic is that it doesn't state any figures WRT monetary return, etc.   I think the most appropriate way of handling this is with a discussion that it depends on the business's unique situation.  For instance, I once improved a site's inbound sales referrals 1300% and their organic search from page 5+ to #2 on the first page just by doing basic things that also improved accessibility.  But they're too much of an edge case to mention. Their site, while attractive, was a total mess.   Other sites would not see such a drastic increase and we should not use the exception in order to validate the rule.   Instead, we should explain (either in the presentation or the delivery thereof) that these are the types of benefits you may achieve, though the final benefit depends on a variety of factors such as type of business, type of site, current audience reach, features & technologies in use on the site,  current state of the site, and types of development underway.




Karl L. Groves

Director, Training

Deque Systems, Inc.

Phone:  443.517.9280



Is a non-compliant website putting your organization at risk? Visit


From: [] On Behalf Of Denis Boudreau
Sent: Friday, April 08, 2011 7:30 PM
To: EOWG (E-mail)
Subject: Re: Updated again: "Web Accessibility is Smart Business" Presentation


Hi everyone,


I just found this blog post about the presentation we'Re working on and thought I should share it with you all: <>.


I think there are some points in there that definitely deserve to be discussed.


Still thinking about this so too early for me to decide whether I agree with him, but definitely worth considering.








On 2011-04-08, at 2:24 AM, Cecilia Farell wrote:


I just found an opinion piece on this very business case that I think nicely addresses both Karl's and Sharron's point of view:

Abrahams asks, which of the numbers can we say happened because the site is now more accessible to disabled people? Well, we really can't tell and, even if we could, the numbers would not make the case. But that's OK. He goes on to say:


The message [of the case study] is that thinking about, and designing for, accessibility is the best way to:

* Improve the quality of code and thus reduce maintenance and improve performance.
* Increase the search engine ranking and drive more visitors to the site.
* Increase the usability, which ensures more visitors stay on the site and then convert to customers.
* Improve the look and feel of a site for all, giving the users a pleasant experience and reducing complaints.
* Provide a site that can be used for small format devices such as mobiles, PDAs and UMPCs.

These benefits should be attractive to any CEO, CIO or Marketing Director even if they are not convinced about, or do not understand, the importance of access for disabled people.


He concludes:


My conclusion is that advocates of accessibility, including myself, should spend less time and effort talking about the benefits to disabled people, however important we think this is. Instead we should talk about accessibility as a discipline that improves the usability and quality of solutions for all users; and thus improves return on investment and profitability.

If we talk in these terms we should get want we want with much less effort.


As an example, thinking about designing for accessibility makes us use ALT text, which we know does more than address the needs of the disabled. "Sell" the use of ALT text by presenting the bigger ROI picture and "get what you want" - a use of alternative text specifically for accessibility, in addition to its other more general uses.

Hope this of use. Thanks,



On 07/04/2011 7:19 PM, Sharron Rush wrote: 

Still, I believe it is absolutley a valid example because the designers explicitly chose to include accessibility as part of their redesign requirements. 

At 06:06 PM 4/7/2011, Karl Groves wrote: 

Thanks for the reply, Sharron.  I'm glad to hear from you. 

> While there are admittedly other aspects of the 
> overall redesign, accessibility is definitely not 
> as trivial as the coat of paint you compare it 
> to.  The point is this:    As accessibility is 
> integrated into the development process, it has a 
> profound affect on how design decisions are made. 
> The improved results are so closely interrelated 
> that - well, you can not separate them, which is 
> what I think you said.  Would the outcomes have 
> been as great if the deliberate inclusion of 
> accessibility features NOT been made?  We don't 
> know.  Improved outcomes have been demonstrated 
> in other cases, but we have permission from Legal 
> and General which, I believe is why we rely on that one situation 
> so heavily. 

I kept the above paragraph because I didn't want to seem to be taking things too out of context.  You say: 
" Would the outcomes have been as great if the deliberate inclusion of accessibility features NOT been made?  We don't know." 

I think this sort of makes my point: we don’t know whether L&G's amazing results were specifically due to accessibility improvements.  In a presentation aimed at making that argument, any case studies included should be *just* about accessibility.  I feel that a more compelling business case would be one in which a list of accessibility problems were found, they were repaired, and they were shown to have a specific and directly attributable benefit. 

Unfortunately finding such a business case will be quite difficult. As you note, accessibility often is not (and should not be) its own separate effort. All teams involved in design & development need to integrate accessibility into the entire process in order to get a more accessible end product and so when it is done right it is more of a quality of work issue. Nevertheless I still feel that such "business case" would be as closely tied as possible to accessibility only. 

As you note in the remainder of your response, getting a client to consent to using them as a business case is a challenge.  I've been trying to get some business case-type data from some for a long time as well and it is difficult. 


Karl L. Groves 
Director, Training 
Deque Systems, Inc. 
Phone:  443.517.9280 

Is a non-compliant website putting your organization at risk? Visit <>  




Cecilia Farell


Received on Monday, 11 April 2011 10:30:11 UTC