You can view the complete discussion by playing the video. Some quotes have been edited for clarity.
Web accessibility is the law—and it’s the right thing to do
The Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) outline the steps publishers and brands need to take to make sure their sites are accessible to people with disabilities. While both Glantz and Wedler emphasized that all companies are legally required by the ADA to make their websites web-accessible, they also pointed out that the rationale for accessibility and compliance is much more about common sense and simple humanity.
“If your business has stairs, you need a ramp,” Glantz reasoned. “Similarly, you need a ramp for your website. There are different ramps for different kinds of assistive technologies and disabilities. Bottom line, if you have a website, it needs to be accessible to everybody.”
Wedler added that it’s a matter of someone being able to access your brand versus not accessing your brand.
“Imagine I go to Taco Bell to get a burrito, and there’s a whole bunch of people trying to get in,” Wedler said. “Everybody gets in, and they see me. They’re like, ‘No, dude. You’re blind. Stay outside. No food for you.’ That’s what it feels like when I try to go buy something online or seek information online and the website I go to isn’t accessible. It’s like, OK, well I’m never going to go to that site again.”
Glantz provided a simile of his own.
“If you owned a jewelry store and somebody in a wheelchair couldn’t get in through your security door, you wouldn’t lock the door. You’d run outside and try to sell this guy a diamond. There’s no reason we wouldn’t do that online. Even if it wasn’t the law, it’s discrimination. Nobody I’m familiar with or want to spend time with wants to be involved in discrimination in 2022.”
How web accessibility benefits brands
The cold truth, Glantz explained, is that despite the best intentions of the advertising and marketing community, the vast majority of people only learn about web accessibility when they are sued for not meeting WCAG and ADA standards.
“The community of people with disabilities is not an aggressively litigious community,” Glant said. “They want to buy your products. They want to participate in the economy, just like everybody else. And most businesses have no idea that they’re not being inclusive, that they’re actively excluding people.”
In fact, Wedler argued, the disability community itself is a valuable asset for brands.
“Brands want to build a community around their brands.” he said. “The disability community is a big group of people who talk, who communicate, who share positive resources. And if I say, ‘Hey, you should check out so-and-so’s website. It’s totally accessible. I use it every day,’ I’m going to get 10 of my friends to do the same thing. It is such a powerful thing.”