When you’re creating your SaaS application or business, it’s easy to focus on things like functionality, beautiful design, or speed.
However, another feature you should focus on is accessibility. According to the World Bank, around 15% of the world’s population experiences some kind of disability.
Disabilities can vary from issues with sight and hearing to mobility problems and learning difficulties.
If you want your SaaS solution to reach all your customers, you’ll need to ensure that it caters to their needs and that it’s accessible on every level.
After all, your technology isn’t just valuable to people with perfect hearing, sight, or mobility.
Today, we’re going to be looking at what it means to bring accessibility to the forefront of your SaaS business strategy and why it’s so important to put accessibility first.
How do SaaS companies make their software accessible?
Activist and entrepreneur Laura Kalbag identifies accessibility as a measurement of how “usable” a solution or environment is to as many people as possible.
When you place accessibility at the heart of your SaaS solution, you ensure everyone can use your app, website, or service, regardless of their needs.
The Web Content Accessibility Guidelines, or WCAG, offer some handy standards on web accessibility you can use to guide you.
According to those standards, for software to be accessible, it needs to be:
- Operable: User interface components, navigation, and other elements of your software need to be easy to use for anyone, even if they have issues with sight, or mobility. The design of the interface has to take their needs into account.
- Perceivable: For instance, if your customers can only get information about a feature of your software by reading something, this isn’t accessible. Information should be available even to people who may have limitations with certain senses. In our example, having that information read to them by an AI corrects the accessibility issue.
- Understandable: The information in the software, and the interface must be easy enough to understand and use for the customer. The content shouldn’t be overly complex or written in industry-specific language.
- Robust: Content needs to be interpreted correctly by various user agents, including assistive technologies, like screen readers.
Implementing these best practices offers numerous benefits.
Reasons to prioritise accessibility as a SaaS business
Once you know what “accessibility” means for the software industry, you can start to explore the benefits of putting this concept first in your design strategy.
Here are some of the reasons you should be putting accessibility at the heart of your SaaS strategy.
Complying with industry guidelines
It’s becoming increasingly important for companies to consider all of the various regulations and compliance guidelines in their industry if they want to avoid fines and other issues.
Some countries have accessibility accommodations listed as legal requirements for companies creating software.
For instance, when the Americans with Disabilities Act was established in 1990, guidelines were enacted to prevent businesses from reducing accessibility.
It, for instance, obliged owners to install ramps in front of physical stores to make them accessible to wheelchair users.
However, increasingly, these accessibility guidelines are beginning to apply to businesses online too.
Companies like Netflix have already been sued for issues regarding a lack of options for users with visual and hearing disabilities.
Enhanced brand reputation
Supporting people with disabilities isn’t just good for compliance and legal reasons. It also has a positive impact on how other potential leads view a business.
If you show your customers, you’re willing to put their needs first by prioritising accessibility, your reputation gets a significant boost.
Today’s SaaS brands face a lot of competition now that companies are turning to software to help them get back to the workplace in new circumstances.
To help narrow down their options, many businesses and consumers are focusing on a company’s morals and values.
Committing to accessibility shows your community you care about the needs and expectations of all your clients.
You can improve your reputation further by sending surveys and questionnaires out to customers to find out how they’d like you to improve accessibility or host polls for feedback on social media.
Acquiring new customers
Many people with disabilities lose trust in a service provider because of barriers to usage and difficulties using certain features. They often feel unappreciated and ignored by brands.
This is why newly emerging SaaS companies who show they can put their needs first have an excellent opportunity to expand their reach.
Building your SaaS solution with accessibility in mind will help you attract new customers who might avoid other companies with fewer options.
Your accessibility-friendly software can be a unique selling point when your SaaS company is differentiating itself from other companies and brands in your marketplace.
If you’re keen to build your brand around being a “customer-first” business, accessibility will show you’re willing to walk the walk and talk the talk.
Retaining current customers
Studies show that brands lose billions for neglecting to ensure digital accessibility.
Therefore, failing to reach all of your customers with your software means not only that you’ll miss out on new potential clients but that you could drive existing customers away, too.
After all, your goal should be to serve your customers’ needs.
Even if customers have been loyal to your company in the past, there’s only so long most of them will stay around struggling to use the same complicated and inaccessible tools.
After a while, a difficult user experience will frustrate customers enough to start them searching for new companies.
Retaining your customers means offering them a fantastic product and service, so they won’t be tempted to go anywhere else.
Make accessibility a priority for your SaaS
There are countless customers online looking for the perfect software in today’s digital age.
It’s important to remember these clients aren’t just looking for features; they’re also in search of the perfect functionality too. Working on making accessibility a priority should help you to not only attract more customers but also boost your reputation, stay compliant with industry standards, and retain existing clients for longer
Ashley Wilson is a digital nomad and writer for hire, specialising in business and tech topics. In her self-care time, she practices yoga via Youtube. She has been known to reference movies in casual conversation and enjoys trying out new food. You can get in touch with Ashley via Twitter.