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Check your math

3 minutes read

Numbers don't lie.

If all you have is 10€ and coffee is 6€, you only have 4€ left to spend on a cookie. If you want two cookies, get a smaller coffee or a tea.

If your business has more money going out than money coming in, you'll never turn a profit. So you either get more customers or you cut down on your expenses. Sometimes, expenses are the only thing you can control, so that's where you first look. You might start with layoffs, paying employees less or driving harder bargains with your suppliers.

If you have more features in the pipeline and more tickets in your backlog than time in the day, you'll quickly realise you can't fit everything in.

When your constraint is time, it's easy to cut out the wrong things from the process. Things that to the outside eye look like they don't bring an immediate tangible return on investment. Things like testing with users. Things like documentation.

Things like accessibility.

In the short run, cutting out accessibility seems like a smart move. You put lots of tickets from your backlog on hold. You free up time across your product team, from designers to developers to testers. They'll have more time to ship new features when they don't have to get bogged down on accessibility.

But on the long run, the decision to dump accessibility will almost always fail.

By ignoring it, you're essentially turning away a significant portion of your potential user base. People with disabilities are a significant market (one in five people worlwide and over 100 million total in Europe), controlling over 1 trillion dollars in disposable income.

It's also a legal risk. Most countries you're likely doing business with have laws that mandate digital accessibility. You ignore these at your own peril. Lawsuits will definitely cost you far more than implementing accessibility in the first place.

Not to mention that good accessibility practices improve usability for everyone. When your navigation is clear, it's not only people with disabilities that benefit. High-contrast colors will help anyone who's trying to read your content on a phone when the sun is glaring. Video captions will make it possible for people in a crowded subway to consume your content when they can't possibly hear the audio.

Many of these "features" started off as accessibility enhancements. Now, they're just common place and everyone expects them. Most aren't even that difficult to implement. Cutting them out of your process makes no sense and will save you nothing at all. You're potentially frustrating everyone, not just excluding some.

The math is always right, but it isn't always the right thing.

Did you enjoy this bite-sized message?

I send out short emails like this every day to help you gain a fresh perspective on accessibility and understand it without the jargon, so you can build more robust products that everyone can use, including people with disabilities.

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