According to the UK Cabinet Office ("eAccessibility of public sector services in the European Union" [external link], 24/11/2005) only 3% of public sector websites scored a WAI (Web Accessibility Initiative) Single-A standard rating. This poor score is typical of other similar studies into website accessibility.
So why should you care? Well, there are at least two good reasons for putting accessibility at the forefront of your website, instead of as an afterthought:
(1) According to the Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB), almost two million people are living with serious sight loss ("About Site Loss", 03/06/2011 [external link]). An inaccessible website could alienate these people - turning away people who are your potential site visitors and customers.
(2) Disability discrimination is law in many countries (in the UK this is the UK Equality Act 2010 [external link]). If the information and services on your website are difficult or impossible for a disabled person to access, you may have a claim made against you. If the claim were successful, you might have to pay compensation and have to correct your website.
Case study - Maguire vs. SOCOG
In June 1999 a case was brought against the Sydney Organising Committee for the Olympic Games (SOCOG) for having a website which was inaccessible to blind people (Maguire vs. SOCOG [external link]). $20,000 Aus. dollar were paid in damages as a result.
PSLWeb believe it prudent, therefore, to get accessibility built into your site from the start. We always aim to achieve a WAI Double-AA standard rating for our clients' websites.