A couple weeks ago I attended MinneWebCon and saw a great afternoon keynote called Inclusive Universe by Wendy Chisholm. This was a great presentation shining light on how important it is to consider accessibility within design. I highly recommend watching this video but if you can't, here are some interesting points she brought up that relate to finance.
People with disability make up the 3rd largest market in the U.S., behind baby boomers and seniors; which represents 5 trillion dollars in spending. As designers, it makes a lot of sense for us to design for those with disabilities. Sometimes people are afraid to face the issue of accessibility because of additional costs, but designing with accessibility in mind from the beginning will save money down the road. For example, curb cuts are designed for people in wheelchairs and if they are installed right away, it saves money. If they have to be installed down the road, because designing with disability wasn't thought about, it will cost more money. While curb cuts are designed with disability in mind, others will also benefit from this design because designing for disability increases the abilities of everyone else even more. How great are cut curbs for your awesome rolling backpacks, strollers and skateboards?
In this talk, Wendy also talked a lot about the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines.
Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0 defines how to make Web content more accessible to people with disabilities. Accessibility involves a wide range of disabilities, including visual, auditory, physical, speech, cognitive, language, learning, and neurological disabilities. These guidelines also make Web content more usable by older individuals with changing abilities due to aging and often improve usability for users in general.
Taking a look over these guidelines and keeping disability in mind when designing websites is very important both socially and financially. There are endless opportunities for innovation when designing for disability. In Wendy's presentation she gives many great examples of innovative designs that have helped disabled people, especially within the web.