Show me the Money!

Talk by Sumner Davenport

Can creating or remediating WordPress sites to include Accessibility increase clients and web designers profits?

Can you measure how much money businesses are losing out on because of a non-Accessible website?

Can profits be lost by designers who are not including Accessibility in their services?

The answer to all of the above is “Yes.”

However, there are misconceptions around the cost/profit of Web Accessibility. Let’s look at statistics, do the math, check out the bottom line and learn how Web Accessibility can affect profitability for both designers and their clients.

Watch Sumner’s Presentation


Joe Simpson, Jr: Greetings again from Southern California. My name is Joe Simpson Jr.

I’m a volunteer wrangler for WordPress Accessibility Day, I’m also a WordCamp WordPress Meetup and WordCamp Community organizer as well as an accessibility advocate. Similar to Alicia’s story that we just heard in the last hour, Sumner Davenport shaped my re-entry into accessibility as well.

Now I know two people in my entire life that are me. I have a workout friend who is always ready to go, no matter rain or shine just like me, no excuses.

Sumner is that other person. She matches my desire to learn with inspiration, knowledge and nurturing leadership here in the North Valleys of Los Angeles.

Now I met Sumner, I went to a meetup in West Hills to see her speak, because I was hosting our first WordCamp in Santa Clarita and I had heard about her and the topic was very interesting. What happened at that meetup is why I’m here before you today.

She’s that type of magnetic personality. She killed her presentation and she said yes and presented at our meetup and we’ve been close ever since.

Sumner will present the Profitability of Accessibility, but first let me tell you more about this amazing woman. Sumner Davenport specializes in web accessibility on WordPress.

Her passion is to educate business owners and web designers using WordPress, on the increased value and ease of it of an accessible, an accessible site. Through her long-standing organization she and her team built, maintained, evaluated and remediated, dozens of WordPress websites to WCAG 2.1 success criterion. Her clients are referred by other clients and from attorneys.

She’s an active, she’s active in accessibility and legal conferences and educational venues. At WordCamps and local WordPress groups she regularly speaks on topics related to compliance issues for WordPress.

After presenting at WordCamp Santa Clarita in 2019, she volunteered to be a speaker wrangler at WordCamp Santa Clarita and is on the speaker wrangler team for WordCamp Los Angeles 2020. She and two colleagues founded a local meetup to discuss WordPress and accessibility and invited renowned speakers on accessibility topics to be guest presenters.

Partnering with two other local meetup organizers they organized the first annual mega meetup WordPress Accessibility Day 2020. She is a member of the International Association of Accessibility Professionals, the IAAP and is an active supporter of various disability organizations.

Please welcome Sumner Davenport presenting the Profitability of Accessibility. Sumner take it away.

Sumner: I don’t, I don’t, I don’t know if I can talk after that introduction Joe. Goodness, I’m glad I, I have my Kleenex handy.

You really touched me with the beginning of that introduction. Thank you so very very much.

I am very honoured to be here tonight. I’m, I am so glad that I was selected to speak.

Thank you so much to Joe Dolson for putting this together, and for saying yes to me and of course for Joe Simpson. He is a inspiration to me a lot.

So I’m going to jump into my topic. Let’s see if I can get my screen share to work here today.

If there’s any problem hearing me, if you have any problem with my screen, make sure that you make a comment so that one of the Joes here can let me know. If you have any questions as I go along, please put them in the chat on the stream on YouTube, so that Joe can let me know what those are, because I want to be as helpful as I possibly can during the time that we have tonight.

So let’s see if we can find my PowerPoint. So the topic that I was going to talk about tonight is called The Profitability of Accessibility and I feel very honoured that last night Joe Simpson took a few minutes to let me do a kind of a test run on this topic.

And I made a little bit of an edit, and then today another associate said, hey let me hear what you’re going to do because I can’t be there tonight. So I did, and after hearing what I had to say she kind of hemmed and hawed and said hmm, I’m not thrilled with the title.

I thought well you know, but the title is Profitability, the profitability is the degree to which a business or activity yields a profit or a financial gain. Although accessibility, bringing accessibility to all persons is really the right thing to do, it’s important if this is what you’re doing professionally, that you can make some money, you can have an income, you can thrive, so you can enjoy it.

So yeah, profitability. So I know, I thought about it for a minute and then she said, I think it’s all in the title.

I just don’t like the title. So based on her input I changed the title.

So tonight I didn’t, I did not warn Joe Dolson. I, already sent in my slides.

So I apologize if you are following me on the slides online, this next slide is not part of it. Just one, it’s now called, Show Me the Money, because isn’t that what people want to learn?

If you as a web designer, as a business owner, as an agency owner, if you start to put your efforts into including accessibility and do all the projects you do for your client, don’t you want to know that there’s a way that you can get a return on investment on your time and your efforts? Well I kind of figured that was a better title and for anybody that knows me, it kind of sounds more like me as well.

So tonight we’re going to talk about how you can get a return on investment on your time and your efforts with accessibility and how you can then also have a good way to explain accessibility to your clients, so that they also can see the return on investment for bringing accessibility into all of their digital products and their company. So first off just of course we all know this, but we’re just going to touch on it, but what is accessibility?

Accessibility is removing the barriers that prevent people from having access, equal access whether it’s a building, an area, a service that’s being provided, a website an app, any digital product. And accessibility is taking that initiative to create products that are usable by, with people, by people, with the widest possible range of abilities.

What some people may not know, is when you think accessibility first, and think about making things accessible to all people, you open so many avenues, so many possibilities, so much creativity and innovation, that accessibility creates good growth in a lot of ways. And I’ll touch on some of those tonight.

What is web accessibility specifically? We have seen the wA11y, sometimes the w is out there, it’s just the A 1 1 y and what that means is that between the A and the y there is actually 11 letters that should be in there, because it spells out the entire word, accessibility.

We put the W in there for web, so when you see wAlly or Ally, whichever way you want to pronounce this, it’s accessibility. It’s about people.

It’s about making a difference. So web accessibility refers to the website that is designed for everyone!

We want everyone, regardless of their ability or disability, to have the same ease of access. That’s the most important part.

It’s the user experience that everybody gets to have. So we also have to keep in mind that web accessibility, it actually involves a wide range of disabilities.

So many times we hear people talk about only screen readers, or blind individuals, or somebody needing captions without taking into an understanding that there are far more areas and ranges of disabilities that we need to consider. So then I get people that say this to me all the time, rather sarcastically, they unfortunately do.

Is there really a need for web accessibility? I mean, after all how many people really are disabled ?

I’m in the United States, so some of the figures and facts that I will present this evening are based on my area. But since this is global I also am going to show some figures and I’ll make comments on some other countries as well.

Because accessibility is international. In the United States, 25.6 percent of adults in the United States have some type of disability. And that number fluctuates, because there are disabilities that individuals are born with, there are disabilities that people suddenly get because of an accident or an illness, or surgery.

There’s disabilities that come with age. So that number is not just 25.6 percent. It’s really a fluctuating number that could affect every single one of us.

Around the world there are more than one billion people living with some form of disability. So when someone says, is there really a need for web accessibility, is there really people that need it?

I kind of think there is. I kind of think that it’s important that we take a look at what I know to be an invisible segment of our society.

When I ask people why their site is not accessible or why they don’t consider accessibility, they don’t think they have ever seen or know anybody, but maybe that guy that just passed him in the hallway, that might have a disability. They don’t consider how many people they’re overlooking.

It’s an invisible segment of our society that we need to bring visible. And it’s not them versus us.

It’s not one group versus another. It’s all of us, it’s all of us collectively that make up this group.

People with disabilities are in a community that makes up a whole lot more than just the single individual, because it’s their families, their communities, their friends, the people that they do business with, the people that they interact with, it’s a very powerful consumer base. And if a company has a website and they’re not accessible, they’re missing out on this very powerful base.

So then the next question comes up. Is there really a problem?

I mean after all, how big a problem, if there is one, how big is it? So for those of you that are familiar, there’s a company WebA I M, and every year they do an audit on the home page only, of one million sites.

And for 2019, actually I correct myself, February of 2020 they did their million sites evaluation and what showed up was, 98.1 % of all the sites they tested had errors, had barriers to people with disabilities.

Ninety-eight point one percent of the sites they tested out of one million, less than 2% were fully accessible. And I put on the screen that big number because I want people to see that number.

I want it to be important. I want it to, to let it be known that there is an opportunity for us as web designers to make a difference.

It’s a huge opportunity and the source link to that is at the bottom of the screen. But are there other problems with the lack of web accessibility?

I mean other than just WebAIMS one million report? Absolutely, because of the lack of web accessibility we are seeing one million report?

Absolutely, because of the lack of web accessibility we are seeing a drastic increase in web accessibility lawsuits. As Joe mentioned, I work with clients who are referred to me by attorneys.

Since Covid started, my phone, my email, people contacting me because they’ve received demand letters, attorneys contacting me inquiring about what can be done for their client. It has tripled.

I can’t handle all of these people. So far we’re doing a good job at either working with them or referring them out, but that is a huge increase just for me.

So this is not going to go away. Whether it’s Covid where people are now, everyone is in their home and relying upon the internet, or whether it’s going to be after Covid, when it becomes real obvious that everyone deserves the right to equal access everywhere, including the web.

And personally I appreciate that there’s a tension being brought to the lack of web accessibility, I just don’t care for these trolls at all. So the more that we make websites accessible, the more these trolls, is going to make their efforts more difficult and that’s a goal of mine.

Here’s an interesting piece of information from the report from WebAIM. The top six common types of WCAG 2 failures on these sites that they tested, look at this.

Low contrast text, 86 percent point three of pages had low contrast text. Earlier today there was a presentation about colours and contrast.

So hopefully you attended that particular presentation. If not, when these videos are available, I do hope that you go back and you watch and listen to what Colleen had to say.

Right at the top, Low Contrast. Personally, I don’t understand why people put gray font on a light gray background.

That’s never made sense to me, but I see that on so many sites,  and obviously WebAIM found something similar. The other one, Missing alternative text for images, 66%.

Come on, that’s like the one thing we talk about the most. Empty links, Missing form fields, Empty buttons, Missing the document language?

We’re not even going to tell people what the language of the website is? How easy if you had a website that had these six errors, they came to you, how easy would it be for you to remediate that site?

Keeping that in mind, why aren’t they? That’s my question.

Maybe they need you to knock on their door and tell them. Now at the same time I read legal cases on a daily basis.

I always tell people if you can’t go to sleep, something that’s better than counting sheep is to read some of these legal briefs. They’re not really entertaining, but they are educational and the most common problems referred in these cases, the website prevents screen readers from accessing primary content.

Oh boy, here we go again, no text description for an image, forms not working, you can’t increase the text to 200 % without loss of content or functionality? Here’s one that a lot of people don’t think about.

If you have something on your website that has a time limit on it, you need to let people have a way to adjust it, disable it, slow it down, restart it, instead of just timing them out and kicking them off. Because a sighted person would see if there’s a countdown, but perhaps someone with a disability either doesn’t get the warning, can’t read the warning, can’t respond fast enough to the warning, because you didn’t give them enough time.

Web pages without titles, oh my goodness. It is so easy to put a title in a WordPress site.

How could that happen, I’m beside myself. The purpose of each link cannot be determined from the text link alone, and that’s where we get a whole lot of those, click here.

And I believe we had someone just a couple of presentations previous, that talked about just that. Very, very important.

So you see that the problems that are being referenced in lawsuits and the ones that WebAIM found are simple to remediate. They’re simple to put in in the first place, but when you have a client come to you with a site that has these problems, these are the simple ones to fix.

So what’s the solution to the lack of accessibility? Very simple, make products that are accessible to everyone out of the gate.

We do know that now that there are themes within the WordPress repository that are accessible ready. I do know there are uh people that, that’s all they will work with, is an accessible ready theme.

And then they make sure that the contents and the images and everything they add to it remains accessible. They make their job easy.

Remediate products and areas that have barriers, support companies and products that are accessible and innovate with new products. You may not have known, that the disabled market or excuse me the disabled community, is actually considered to be extreme users of certain products.

What that means is, what you may not also be aware of is that voice recognition software has been available for people with disabilities for 20 plus years, and because people with disabilities were using voice technician, voice recognition technology, that same technology is now used in Alexa and Siri and Google’s assistant. So something that was done for a, what was a select group of people by their first analysis, is something that has now been rolled out for everyone.

So it’s not a small group. It’s all of us that benefit from these products.

But let’s move into what people want to know about tonight and that is, the Increased Value of Accessibility for both Designers and Companies. What you hear a lot is, accessibility can drive innovation, such as what I just mentioned, it can enhance your brand or hurt it, it helps SEO, it can minimize legal risk and it can extend your market reach.

And yet, those five points to some people are just vague. Yeah, maybe, but what about me, what can it do for me, for my company or what can it do for me?

I’m a designer with a small agency, what can it do? So I want to remind you, if my slides will progress, this market, 98.

1% of the market needs you, for your web accessibility knowledge, expertise to go in there and make a difference, 98%. So when I hear people tell me, well you know what, I, my client doesn’t want to pay for accessibility.

I don’t know what to do? Ninety-eight percent of the marketplace need you.

So if that client doesn’t want to be inclusive and bring accessibility in and you have done your best to educate them, maybe you need to turn your attention to somebody who will appreciate you and your skills and your commitment and your dedication. Just saying.

But then we come back to, well what can I charge? You know I mean, I, I don’t know, how can I mark this up?

How do I make a living doing this? When I first had a website made for me it was in 1996, 97-ish, the person charged me $3,000.

I didn’t think anything of it at the time, other than, phew, that’s a lot of money, but I also thought that must be the going rate, because I had nothing else to compare it to. But the person that designed my website was not very pleased, because I kept asking questions and I wanted this little tweak and just that change, and can we do this, and let’s move that and he made a statement one day and said, look I just don’t have time for all your questions.

If you want answers, go take a class and get the answers for yourself. So I did and I never had to ask him another question, but I also never had to pay him any more money, because I knew how then to do it myself.

So trust me, I never say that to clients, but I look back at that and when I first started working websites myself, I knew I couldn’t charge $3,000. I didn’t have that much intelligence, expertise, information, experience, even though I’d just taken a class.

I didn’t think I could and I didn’t. So I came up with a value calculator and here’s where if you have a pen or pencil handy or you take notes on a notepad or something, I’d like you to consider this.

When you think about what is your value when you include accessibility into your services, what do you charge for a basic website prior to adding any accessibility to it? Put down that figure.

Now I want you to consider your personal value. If you have taken classes on accessibility, put a plus.

If you have certificates or degrees, put a plus. If you have any business awards or accolades, whether they’re related to accessibility or just because you have integrity and you are a good business person and you take care of your clients, give yourself a plus.

If you are a disabled person yourself or someone in your family or a friend that you see often, put a plus. If you have employees that are disabled that work for you, put a plus.

If you have an understanding of WCAG for each level of understanding, put a plus, or a big plus. If you are very in, involved in a particular niche market that you know real well, you know what the market is, what drives them to do what they do in their business, put a plus.

My niche market is attorneys. It’s been attorneys for the last 10 and a half years.

So I know attorneys. I know the legal marketplace, I know what they’re allowed to do and what they’re not allowed to do when it comes to marketing and advertising.

I am always networking with them. So I know that market.

If you have a market like that, give yourself a plus. Give yourself a plus for every year that you already have been including accessibility.

If you can write code, give yourself a couple of big pluses. And if you often network with other accessibility professionals, give yourself a plus.

And then think about what else sets you apart from everyone else. That is a huge plus.

When you look at all those pluses you’re going to put a dollar amount to that, not with me tonight, but at a time when you’re going to sit down, because this is something that is personal to you. Not what everybody else is charging, but what is your value.

When you understand your value you can explain it to your clients and that’s the important part. So you start with that value, then you go to something where it requires manual efforts.

This is an excerpt, a clipping from one of the checklists that we use in my office. And it’s a spreadsheet that has on the left column whatever action that we need to take in order to remediate a site, who’s going to do that, is that person someone that works internal in my company or do we have to outsource, and what is the cost.

Every person that works on a project, if they’re internal, they have either a salary or a negotiated amount that they are paid. If we outsource it, we are paying whatever they tell us is their value to do that for us.

We go down the list and we make sure that we cover all our bases. We do test everything on JAWS and N V D A by a native user of that.

When we are remediating images we don’t just throw in the alt description and call it a day. We research and maybe we have to find them a new image if the one that is on their site is really not that great.

Maybe it needs editing, because it’s too pixelated, maybe it’s too big, maybe it doesn’t fit the content? We’re going to change the meta info and the geo info for search and we’re going to do all that, because we go the extra effort.

What we’re doing for our client is more than just fixing the technical problems, we want a good user experience for them as our client and their website for their users and their visitors. So think about this type of an effort and what value would you put into each one of those?

How would you separate yourself from everyone else? A lot of times people calculate an hourly rate.

I talked to someone this week who told me he came to me and asked me if I’d hire him, because he couldn’t afford to be freelance anymore. So I looked at what he charged a client to work on a website and how many extra hours got thrown in that he didn’t calculate.

The end of the day, he was making less than $7 an hour. So in Southern California you can’t live on that.

So I told him, if you’re going to calculate your value by an hourly rate, ask yourself, what is your resentment number. What is the lowest amount you would ever allow a client to say This is how much I’ll pay you per hour and take that number and multiply it by four.

You should never work at a level that causes you to not enjoy the work that you’re doing, because accessibility can be a whole lot of fun. The people that you will meet, the clients when they get excited, it’s just fun.

And then you have more value, updates and maintenance plans. In a lot of the settlements we’re seeing, in these legal cases, they’re asking the court to require that people test their sites every six months.

That’s a maintenance plan for you. So that’s how you add value, that’s how you add more to you.

Your total value then becomes your unique value, your cost per hour, your team that you work with, the complexity of the site that you’re going to be working on, and how well your skills and expertise can do that, the timeline. Rush jobs always cost more and future offerings, your your updates and your maintenance plans.

Then you put that into a strategy. When I first started in business in the 80s, long time ago, I was out in my neighborhood asking businesses why were they successful and the guy next door wasn’t?

Why did they continually succeed when people across the street kept going out of business? And what I heard more times from the successful business, is they had a plan.

They didn’t wing it. They put in a plan and they planned it out as far as they could.

They put in that plan, not only the type of customers and clients they wanted, they put in that plan the type of education they may need in order to satisfy those clients, they put in that plan what would happen if business really picked up. So many people plan in the minute and worry about something going wrong, but as I said a couple seconds ago, my phone calls and my emails have really exploded in the last few months.

Fortunately I, have a list of people that I can call upon, that I’m able to make sure that that those contacts and those inquiries were taken care of. Take the information about your value, your expertise, what kind of websites you want to work on, and what you want to do, and put it into a plan and follow that plan.

Be transparent with your client but don’t be invisible. What we do for our clients, is we either work in Basecamp or Asana.

We work in Slack and Toggl and we give our clients reports all the time. They know exactly what we’re doing for them, so they don’t have to worry.

And what we do, is we audit their website and we give them a report. And we may audit that website with an automatic tester, before we put our hands on it and manually test it, and we will give them that report, but then we make sure that they see the difference it makes with someone who is keyboard only, and someone who is screen reader.

That way they get a better understanding of their target market. They get a better personal understanding of accessibility.

I have been working with accessibility and websites for 12 years, maybe a little bit longer and I was brought to my knees humbly, at that point. I had been designing websites and I thought I was doing a great job.

I thought I was really proud of what I had, and then a member of my family who is blind had the benefit of someone coming to show her how to use a screen reader to access the web and visit websites. I was emotionally blown away by how much freedom it gave her, but I also was humbled when I gave the man my URLS of the sites I was so proud of and asked him to test them.

And not a single one of them could be read by a screen reader. My world changed that day.

And so I’m hoping that as you get accustomed to accessibility, your world takes a shift and you shift to where this just becomes part of what you do, don’t even have to think about it. So after you get the test and you find out what you’re doing and you start working with your client, please do the easy stuff first and the reason for this is, if you are working on the most difficult part of the website where you possibly have to write some new code and redesign certain things, your client doesn’t see what you’re doing.

He doesn’t see that you’re making any sort of progress at all, but if you go through the little things first or what I call the easy things, not little, they’re all important, the easiest things first and then show your client as you go along. Your client sees progress.

Your client sees hope and knows that you’re doing what you’d promised to do. We always follow the WCAG, the checklist.

I have this spreadsheet on the screen that shows the guidelines and where they fall on the WCAG, and all of our spreadsheets we reference not only with internally to each other, but to our clients, which web content accessibility guidelines success criteria we are meeting for them. They don’t care, but they do care that we tell them.

They don’t understand it, but they care that we tell them and that’s the transparency of it. And that’s what’s important.

Plus when you follow the WCAG you learn the WCAG. When you do this, the simple stuff first you learn.

It’s easier to learn. So basically you can have an increased profit with your business by increasing your value to your client, increasing in the fees that you’re going to charge them, because of the value of what you’re bringing to the table.

This will increase your business income and unless you go out and buy a brand new Ferrari, it should be an increase in your profit. But I want you to notice that one thing I didn’t say, I didn’t talk about plug-ins as part of this process, because it’s good bad and ugly with WordPress.

The good is there’s plugins that can do work for you. The bad is, a lot of those plugins will make the site worse and you’re now going to have to figure out how to remediate over the plugin that you just installed.

And the ugly is that there are plugins that through their marketing efforts are going to try to tell you that they’ll do your job for you. And then when they don’t, you’re the one that’s in trouble.

So don’t be the bad apple. Be willing to put in the effort.

You will enjoy it, you’ll get excited, trust me. Now we’ll get to the second half and I promise that this is a good part of it that you’ll be able to share with your clients.

The Profitability for Companies. People with disabilities are not a solitary market.

They are surrounded by family members and friends. They recognize products and services that accommodate people in society.

They will refer to people when it is an accessible website. So you want to show them the money.

In the U. S., the total after after tax disposable income for working age people with a disability is 490 billion dollars. That’s a lot of money.

Discretionary income which is the income that they get to spend after they’ve paid all their their debts and their taxes is still 21 billion. Most people aren’t aware of these numbers.

You want to share these with your clients. Interesting note that we discovered, is that individuals with hearing difficulties represent the disability category with the greatest amount of discretionary income, followed by people with vision disabilities.

So when you heard about captions from Meryl earlier, earlier today this shows why that’s important. You can explain that to your clients.

If you’re in the U. K. what we have there is, internet users are 10.7 million or 10.07. Sixty-nine percent of people will leave a site if they have a problem with access and they will go someplace else.

This is called the click-away pound report and in my resources I do have a link that you can read this entire report and share it with your clients. I also have a Nielsen report that gives all the information for U.S. companies, but the worst case scenario that you can tell your clients is that the cost of a lawsuit is far greater.

An attorney retainer can be up to $5000, the settlement costs the loss of work. Those are real figures and I do not lead with this with my clients.

I lead with the numbers for the market that they can reach. If they don’t want to listen, then I’ll bring this part in.

But how should they market to the disabled community? Decide to developing products that meet that needs of people with disabilities.

They should get involved in the community. They also need to employ people with disabilities.

Inclusive advertising, put an accessibility statement on their website, because far too many designers think, well I’ll just go in and tell my client if they make their website accessible, that people will flock to it. That’s not true.

It will give a boost to the SEO in some cases, but they still need to do their marketing. It’s essential and this is the type of marketing that they need to do.

If they do this marketing, if they do it genuine, they will see a return of that marketplace, because like any other community, people with disabilities do talk about people that treat them right. And when you think about your price and your value just remember there’s always somebody who’s willing to do it cheaper.

So don’t cut yourself short when you’re talking to your clients about your value. Make sure that you go for the big value.

So some of the references are resources that I’ll share with you, is the automatic accessibility checkers that we use. We don’t use one more than another except, the top two.

We love the Deque Axe-Pro Beta, because of the type of reports that we can give our client and we love the Tenon API which you can put in your website, so that you can see as you’re working what you’re doing and what needs to be done. So you don’t have to wait till something is done to go, did I do it right?

By putting the API on your website for this one, you’ll be able to watch your progress and learn as you go along. Other resources that I mentioned, these are places where you can learn knowledge: The Web Accessibility Initiative at has a free course on the introduction to web accessibility, and you can get a certificate for completing that course and it is a great course. I’ve done that course.

I refer people to that course. It’s full of knowledge.

Knowbility, excellent resource, Deque, WebAIM, CSUN, University of Illinois, University of Washington, the information is available. The educational resources are there.

If you need to have a native user to test, here are three places where you can have, you can contract with them for someone or gain a referral. Again, Knowibility Access Works, Pearson for the blind and CSUN which is here in Southern California.

Also in my slides will be the links and resources to the statistics that I quoted for the companies, for the number of people in the community and the spending power. So in summary 98.1% of websites need remediation. One in four people have a recognized disability.

Accessibility is international. It’s a right, it’s a, it’s a personal right, it’s a civil right.

Plan your design to include accessibility, have a strategy for remediation, understand the why and how of your value to a client, understand the potential market so you can explain it to your client. Check the obvious and fix those first, fonts, structure, colour schemes, video, audio.

Don’t rely only on automatic testers. Test your site manually.

Have a native user of accessibility technology test your site. Be transparent with your clients and support the community.

And I know I talked fast. I wanted to give you a lot of information and since I know we’re being recorded you can come back and visit this information again.

But I do believe if there are questions, maybe I have a couple minutes to answer questions.

Joe: Yes you do, thank you so much Sumner.

What a great presentation, thank you. All right, let me refresh here.

Our first question is, Is there a study answering the following question: How many people leave a web page because of accessibility failure?

Sumner: Sixty-seven percent. It’s in the pound away report.

Joe: Okay

Sumner: And the report also indicates that when people leave that website they don’t give up, they do spend that money elsewhere.

So it’s a total loss.

Joe: All right, do you feel designer and developer reluctance in folding in accessibility is that they undercharge or overestimate their bottom line?

How would you recommend they address this or can you share a brief experience?

Sumner: My recommendation would be that they go through that list of what I did for value and accept more about what their personal value is as a designer.

And if they’ve undervalued themselves, this is so, this is probably a personal issue that they need to take and look at. And they might want to sit and work with someone.

I sit with designers all the time that want to discuss, how can I increase what I charge? I don’t know what my assets are?

So if, if a person will take a list of what are their personal assets, like the list I rang off and then reevaluate. What does happen, is many times they don’t charge enough, they get burned out.

And then it becomes resentment and that doesn’t work, but at the same time whatever amount they charge you don’t want to overcharge because you’re going to have to live up to that amount.

Joe: All right, next question, do you think that web development is driven too much by developers needing to rapidly solve problems defined by business rather than by users?

Sumner: Not sure if I understand that question.

Joe: Okay, let me, let me restate it.

Do you think that web development is driven too much by developers who are try trying to solve business related problems instead of trying to solve the problem in terms of how a user would use it?

Sumner: So if I understand that correctly, a client’s going to come to a designer and say I need a website built, because I need to sell a product, instead of I need a website built that’s the best for user experience so I can get more business.

Joe: Correct

Sumner: Okay, well yeah, clients don’t know. We have to educate them.

That’s what they need from us. They need us to say, hey you know what, that’s great let me help you understand how we can make that that dream of yours even bigger and more profitable.

So we as designers need to also be educators. Once we understand it, we can explain it.

Joe: All right, this is a really brief one, For the non-legal, what is a demand letter? You mentioned that in your presentation.

What does that mean in relation to accessibility?

Sumner: Demand letter is, it’s actually a form letter unfortunately, but it comes in on an attorney letterhead and it says dear website owner I’m sending you this letter because my client a blind user or a person with another disability, attempted to visit your website and there was barriers that prevented this person from equal access.

So it’s important that you contact our office to discuss some form of remuneration for the difficulties and the problems that our client has endured. And that is the precursor to them filing a case.

They send out the demand letter, because they want someone to call and go please please please and beg that you don’t hurt them. When uh most of those demand letters don’t turn into cases, but many of them do.

In either case, it’s important to consult with an attorney how to respond.

Joe: Awesome.

Okay our final question is, excuse me, if you build a website with accessibility in mind and the same site without it what do you think the the difference in cost would be between the two sites in terms of what you can charge? That’s that’s a difficult question.

I’m not sure. . .

Sumner: Well, I don’t know that I can answer it, because if I go back to when I was building sites before I knew anything about accessibility and I know what I charge then, versus what I charge now, I don’t know how I would back out all my accessibility efforts to try to figure out what that would be.

Joe: Yeah, yeah I was gonna say I wouldn’t, I mean

Sumner: I, I can’t I can’t even figure that out.

Joe: Yeah, that’s a difficult question.

It reminds me, I used to, I used to speak um at high schools um or go to the school when they had the parents come to work and there would always be a kid who would say, how much do you make, which is, I mean it’s a random question. I’m not making fun of it, but it’s a difficult question to quantify, because your value is based on that formula you talked about.

Sumner: Exactly and too many times I see in forum posts and discussion groups where someone will say, well okay I’m going to build a five-page website for a client, what would you charge? Well first off that’s not enough information to find out what that price would be, but on the other hand don’t choose somebody else’s number.

Your value and their value are totally different and and I, I, I really believe that when we get into that thinking pattern where we, so what is it I’m bringing to the table here? And be real clear of what I’m bringing to the table has a big value to this client, because no one else is bringing this same value.

And I’m going to make a difference to this client and their website and the user experience that no one else is going to do, because they’re not me. And that and it’s not ego, it’s confidence.

Joe: Great, well thanks again Sumner, um what what are you up to in the next few weeks, or what what can we look forward to hearing from, from you with?

Sumner: What well, I’ve got a lot of speaking engagements, it seems, you know since we’re not traveling the country or the world right now.

Everybody’s on Zoom. So I have a lot of that and um we’re planning for a next meetup that’s coming up that we’re going to do another hands-on.

We have the WordCamp Los Angeles that’s coming up in a couple of weeks. So there’s a lot still going on.

Joe: Awesome, well thanks again for for sharing with this incredible international audience and I know we appreciate it.

Sumner: For people that want to, for I didn’t, sorry I didn’t mean to interrupt Joe, but for people people that want to follow me I’m Sumner Davenport on Twitter, I’m Sumner Davenport on LinkedIn or please go to the meetup and look for the WordPress San Fernando Valley.

And since we’re on Zoom you can come in from anywhere in the globe and participate and contribute and let’s all learn together.

Joe: How, how can I be so rude and not let you lean on that.

All right thank you again Sumner.

Sumner: Thank you, Joe.

Joe: All right I personally like to thank Joe Dolson for his leadership, I’d like to thank my moderators Zsolt Edelényi and Danang Aprias Noor Fadilla and all the volunteers and organizers who made this incredible event possible. As it continues on, make sure you check in for our next presentation who’s going to be hosted by Robert Remedios.

He’ll introduce our next talk called Gutenberg Accessibility a Screen Reader User’s Perspective with Raghavendra Satish at at five o’clock UTC on this same channel. See you there and we’ll be back after a short break.

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Questions on “Show me the Money!

    1. Yes. One such report “The Click-Away Pound Report 2019” states: 69% of disabled people with access needs say they ‘click away’ from a site with barriers. 83% of users with access needs limit their shopping to sites they know are barrier-free.

  1. Do you feel designer & developer reluctance on folding in a11y is that they undercharge or underestimate their bottom lines? How do you recommend they address this or can you share your experience?

    1. I believe that a lot of designers underestimate the value of their services. I see many posts on social media where the question is asked “how much would you charge for….” Although it might be helpful to know what others charge, a price by itself is limiting. There are many factors not taken into consideration. Such as the designers’ experience, their education, how well they know their niche and everything they are including in their design service. Are they writing the content, sourcing the images, including citations and SEO? And what else? When they make a detailed list of their assets and services, it becomes more obvious how much they offer, and this list has a value. As a designer learns a11y and automatically begins to include it in their work, they can then recognize where it makes their work better and increases the value of what they are offering a client. And this added value separates them from other designers who offer less.

  2. Do you feel designer & developer reluctance on folding in ay11 is that they undercharge or underestimate their bottom lines? How do you recommend they address this or can you share your experience?

  3. Do you think that web development is driven too much by developers needing to rapidly solve problems defined by businesses, rather than by users?

    1. Yes. I’ve witnessed many designers that focus only on the problem the client has voiced, instead of educating the client on all the benefits of a well designed website. It gets frustrating when they work themselves int that box. The more a designer can educate the client on all the things the website can do for them the more a client will accept the value of the website.

  4. Do you think that webdevelopment is driven too much by developers needing to rapidly solve problems defined by businesses, rather than by users?

    1. A demand letter is a letter sent from an attorney stating they have a client, usually a blind user, who says they cannot access your website. The user is saying that your website is not accessible to a blind person. The attorney is demanding that you contact their office to discuss the next steps and to prevent them from suing you for lack of accessibility and discrimination under disability rights laws.

  5. If you build the same website with a11y in focus and the same website without a11y. What do you think about the costs of the two websites? A11y website costs more?

    1. That is a question that can’t be answered with a dollar amount. A website that is not accessible is an incomplete website. The designer that can deliver a completed accessible website has delivered something with a higher value.