How are Customers Dealing with Digital Accessibility Challenges?

How are Customers Dealing with Digital Accessibility Challenges

Around 93% of consumers believe that it is important for the brands to prioritise digital accessibility, and they want progress rather than platitudes, reveals Acquia. 

As brands incline towards transforming customer experience, digital accessibility issues remain an essential pillar for marketers to reduce churn rates. Enterprises continue to implement interactive and AI-driven capabilities into their websites to simplify customer journeys. But are these brands providing equally accessible opportunities for all their consumers? 

Recently, Acquia, a digital experience software company, surveyed 1,265 adults who identified as having a disability in the United States, the United Kingdom, Canada, and Australia. Out of the surveyed consumers, 89% of users believed that they encounter accessibility issues that make it challenging to interact with websites or other digital experiences.  

How are accessibility challenges impacting brand reputation? 

Brand reputation is negatively impacted when users encounter digital accessibility challenges. The survey revealed that over 71% of the consumers shared a feeling of frustration toward a brand, while 58% felt disappointed. Over 18% felt annoyed and excluded. 

Nearly half of them (45%) rate their level of frustration when encountering accessibility issues on digital platforms as either “very” or “extremely” frustrating.

What steps do customers take to address the issue?

  • Around 34% of them complain directly to the brand 
  • Nearly one-third of them talk about the accessibility issue with their family and friends
  • while 20% would share their experience on social media, creating a ripple effect of negative brand perception that extends far beyond the disabled individuals who experience these problems first-hand
  • Showing a direct impact on companies’ bottom lines, over 52% of them are likely to seek alternative accessible options, while 42% of them would discontinue use of the brand’s services.

Also Read: Describing Customers as “Churned” Strips Away Humanity

How do disabled consumers perceive brands’ efforts towards accessibility issues? 

Expressing their disappointment towards brands’ low efforts in fostering user experience for disabled customers, only 27% believed that companies make meaningful improvements. Around 33% believe brands do the basics to check the regulatory compliance box.

Whereas, 28% believe that while companies talk about accessibility as a marketing tactic, not much action has been taken. Up to 12% believe that companies aren’t thinking about or doing anything to improve digital accessibility.

Should brands prioritise equal digital accessibility opportunities? 

Moving ahead, the survey revealed that 93% of consumers believe that it is important for the brands they engage with to prioritise digital accessibility. However, they want progress instead of platitudes. 

Emphasising the importance of generating equal accessibility opportunities for disabled website users, Jennifer Griffin Smith, Chief Market Officer at Acquia said that it was clear  – digital experiences are not meeting the accessibility expectations of those who need them. This is a critical business issue that requires more attention.

“Digital accessibility is an essential pillar of digital experience design and management that should not be overlooked or shortchanged. Creating equal, accessible opportunities for all is a value all marketers and organisations should strive for,” she said.

“Ultimately, we’re talking about a large proportion of the population who would like to access, enjoy, and get value from digital experiences. As digital marketers, we should not be excluding anyone from engaging with or participating in our digital content. This is an enormous opportunity to grow your customer base, increase revenue and, above all else, improve customer satisfaction and brand loyalty,” concluded Jennifer.