Is it important for a SaaS to be accessible?

Takeaway: Extremely important! It will bring your more profits, sets you out of the competition and you will be helping many people immensely.

In the early stages of a SaaS, accessibility is often the last thing founders think about since they are trying to take it off the ground as quickly as possible. But once the business is established, unfortunately, it doesn’t cross their minds either - they are more interested in lead generation than helping users with disabilities navigate their site, not knowing that solving the second problem will help with the first.

Misconceptions about web accessibility:

  • None of my clients are disabled

Unless you conducted a survey whose sole purpose was to determine the disability status of your customers, you don’t know how many of them have a disability. Disabilities is not something people broadcast about themselves so it is our duty to have a product that is as accessible as possible.

  • Accessibility of too expensive

Would you say that an interface that is user friendly and delightful to use is “too expensive”? If the answer is “yes” you should look for another job. Making your product accessible is actually a lot cheaper than founders realize. The trick is to start thinking about it from the ground up, meaning, if you create interfaces and products with accessibility in mind, they will be much cheaper to make accessible rather than doing it after they are done and bringing on board a different team.

  • Blind people do not browse the web

Yes they do! They use assistive technologies such as screen readers

  • Accessibility is not our priority right now but we will totally look into it in the future

If you don’t make accessibility a priority as soon as possible, chances are, you never will.

  • We are not required to make our product accessible.

Yes you are. If your site isn’t accessible, you are violating the Americans with disabilities act and you are vulnerable to a lawsuit. Don’t believe me? Check out the lawsuits filed against Beyonce, Domino’s Pizza, Scandinavian Airlines System.

  • Accessible websites are ugly

This is a myth.

Wrapping Up

Don’t get me wrong - 99% of the reasons SaaS founders refuse to make their products accessible is because of misconceptions about it. If you want to take your product to the next level, help as many people as possible, and increase your profits, start with accessibility and most importantly, incorporate it from the ground up.

I remember when responsive design first came out, we’d charge clients extra money to turn their “desktop” version into a “mobile” one. But now that responsive design has become so popular, we think about responsive layouts from the beginning of the project. If responsive design was still being treated the way accessibility is right now as something “extra”, it would still be very expensive and rare.