5 Reasons why you should test your digital products with disabled users
‘The one argument for accessibility that doesn’t get made nearly often is how extraordinarily better it makes some people’s lives. How many opportunities do we have to dramatically improve people’s lives just by doing our job a little better?’
- Steve Krug, UX (User experience) professional and consultant.
With 'inclusion' being the talk of the town, businesses are looking to be truly global by making their websites and solutions more accessible to a diverse range of demographics, especially to people with disabilities. Since disabilities are so varied, accessibility becomes a complex concept. So most of the time businesses don't get their investment worth of results from Accessibility specialist consultancies. For example, Dragons and JAWS users can not often pick up pop-up windows and are rarely fixed by specialists. Hence testing your solutions and websites on real users is very important. Accessibility is and must be 'User first' concept.
User testing is the process through which the interface and functions of a website, app, product or service are tested by real diverse users. It is a way of ensuring your product is inclusive, accessible and usable. It’s a facet of your customer’s feedback and experience with your product rather than you driving assumptions.
Here are 5 reasons why you should test your product with real users:
- Avoid legal repercussions
The UK (United Kingdom) law ensures accessibility and fair treatment through Equality act 2010 and the Public sector bodies Accessibility Regulations 2018 (Websites and Mobile Applications) (No.2).
UK’s Equality Act (EQA) like Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) mandates all organizations to make reasonable adjustments for people with disabilities and this includes online services as well in Section 20.
Public Sector Bodies Accessibility Regulations 2018 is an additional law that mandates all government, non-profit and few other organizations to maintain a certain level of accessibility standards. Currently the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG 2.1 AA) is the decided standard of accessibility.
So public sector organizations will be breaking the law if they do not tick WCAG guidelines and private organizations can face legal charges if their websites are not reasonably accessible.
These standards are updated regularly to include more elements of accessibility. If you are to only focus on getting the regulations right, you will need to keep updating your service with new regulations. It is rather cost efficient to make sure your website is accessible by doing user testing.
- Increase your revenue
There are 14.1 million disabled people in the UK, which is 1 in 5 people and among them there are 8.6 million people with access needs according to a Family resource survey. By not making your solution accessible, you are losing this huge customer base for your company. Also globally there are 1 billion people with disabilities, which is as big of a market as China.
To give an example, in 2016 more than 4 million people abandoned a retail website because of the barriers they found accessing them, taking with them an estimated spend of £11.75 billion. In 2019, that lost business has grown to £17.1 billion. (source: ‘Click-Away Pound’)
Amazon’s website is WCAG compliant but it contains too much text and is very difficult to navigate for people with access needs. Therefore people rarely see it as a company that cares.
- Rank high in Google SEO (Search Engine Optimization)
If you know Search Engine Optimization (SEO) or observed the kind of websites that top the google search engine list, you may find that all of those websites score high on accessibility front.
Google ranks websites on their User Experience (UX), which depends on Click-through Rate, Bounce Rate and Dwell time. If your website is inaccessible, the bounce rate will increase since people with disabilities won't be able to engage with it.
Accessibility features like Video Transcripts, Semantic HTML, Link anchor text etc also help make the website easy to navigate for all and well designed, which increases its SEO.
- Increase diversification of customers
Making your website accessible has the additional benefit of making it easy for everyone. If your website is clutter-free, has video transcripts, no dummy links, good contrast etc then you are not only catering your website to people with disabilities but also to senior citizens, people with language needs or commuters who avoid listening to loud videos.
- Start inclusive mindset in your company and build credibility
Inclusion is a mindset and one that is a must at workplaces. When the decision makers show initiative to go for user testing, hire diverse employees, widen their audience to diverse demographics etc., it helps everyone else in the company prioritize and think in the direction of ‘Inclusion’, which builds credibility for the company in the public eye.
Here are some stats to show the importance of inclusion.
- According to a 2013 report, diverse companies are 70 percent more likely to capture new markets.
- Compared to individual decision makers, diverse teams make better decisions 87 percent of the time.
- According to a Deloitte survey, 80 percent of over 1,300 respondents said inclusion efforts were an important factor when choosing a company.
Where to find diverse users for testing?
VIP World services is now offering user testing services with our existing wide and diverse VIP (Visually Impaired People) community, people with other disabilities and accessibility experts.
What do we offer?
- Test and research on-demand by filtering profiles of People with Access Needs
- Carry out moderated or unmoderated sessions
- Try multiple Assistive tech configurations
- Work on websites, web Apps or native Apps
- Record sessions, easily share videos and transcripts
- Add the services of Accessibility Experts to find solutions for issues identified