The Business Case for Accessibility - Intopia Webinar (April 2022)

The Business Case for Accessibility - Intopia Webinar (April 2022)

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STEWART: Hello, everyone. We're just gonna give it another minute just to let people get online. OK. Well, thank you, everyone, for joining us today. Today, I am providing you a webinar on the business case for accessibility. My name is Stewart Hay, I'm the managing director for Intopia and I'm also one of our co-founders here.

Before I go much further, I would also like to acknowledge the Gadigal people of the Eora nation. They are the traditional custodians of this land I'm presenting from today, and I'd like to pay my respects to elders past, present, and emerging. So welcome, everyone here.

Today, we're gonna be here for about presentation, about 40 minutes with myself. There will be time at the end for questions and answers. If you have any of those questions and answers, feel free to pop them into the Q&A section of the Zoom webinar environment. You may pop them into chat.

I'll try to keep an eye on the chat session as well, but if you stick in the Q&A, that would make my life a little bit easier. I would also like to thank the AI-Media team who are here providing us live captions for this webinar. Lastly, a recording of this webinar will also be published on our Intopia YouTube channel. So if you can't stay for the whole session or you find something interesting from the session you wanna share with somebody else, feel free to direct them to the Intopia YouTube Channel.

So, what does a business case have to do with accessibility? Fundamentally, it's a human right and it's a legal requirement. So why would we have to worry about a business case? Unfortunately, we don't live in an ideal world where everyone will just recognise and accept the human rights and legal requirements of any sort of jurisdiction. It really starts to come back to a scenario where we have to actually work with the reality that we are living in. And part of that reality is that any business, when they're trying to make decisions, it really starts to stem back to something like a business case. So if we are lucky, people might just go, it's human rights, it's a legal requirement and do the right thing, and that's fantastic. We wanna applaud that.

We wanna support those people. But for everybody else, and unfortunately, there's a lot of them and many of them are just either unaware or in some cases don't care, we have to start to work within some of those existing set of interactions and standards and behaviours that an organisation has on a on a regular basis. So before we go into anything further than that, what is the actual purpose of a business case? The purpose of business case, from my perspective is, it's a tool for making decisions on how to invest limited time, effort and money to improve the business. Now, sometimes that improvement might be something related to making greater profits. It could be growing or investing into the organisation or team, or it could be things like trying to make savings across the organisation. So it ultimately comes down to being a decision making tool.

I've got a little image here of decision A, decision B. And so what an organisation does is they will get multiple business cases and they will weigh them up against each other and they will compare them against each other for what is going to benefit the organisation, and what they feel is gonna benefit the organisation. So what we want to try to do is we want to try to help and support and build a business case that actually then provides the understanding and the incentive to actually get that support, that funding, that money, that effort, that time to ensure accessibility is being implemented in an organisation. So when we start talking about a business case, the first thing you need to do is you have to actually understand your organisation itself. So every organisation has a purpose. We need to know what that purpose is 'cause we need to connect to that purpose with any of our business case information that we put together.

Every organisation usually has some strategic direction or strategic plan with initiatives and goals, and that is also really important to know and understand, because the more we connect to those strategies and those goals and to those purposes of our strength, we put towards whatever business case we are trying to promote into that business. Also we have to understand the motivations of the decision makers. Now, I've done previous presentations around what I call the black art of marketing of accessibility. And in that, I talk about influencing different people and understanding their motivators.

And the same thing happens here when it comes to business cases. We need to understand the motivations behind the decision makers and who is receiving that business case. They all will have different motivations. Some of it is gonna be very personal to them as an individual.

Some it's gonna be really objective. Some of it might just be about, hey, what makes me look good? And that's the reality. We've got to work towards that. And lastly, we need to work within those existing processes in the organisation. So every organisation will probably have the defined templates and standard processes for putting up business cases. The more you work within those guidelines and standards that are already in place within your organisation, the more likely you gain support for your business case versus trying to work outside of those standards and processes where you might find it difficult navigating the red tape of an organisation and the bureaucracy sometimes of that organisation.

So that's a bit of the background of what we need to consider at a very broad and high level around business cases. Now let's look at some of that sort of core information that is very useful to put into an actual business case to help promote what we're trying to present for, and what we're trying to promote here is accessibility. So the first one I talk about is demographics. An education piece to sort of help the readers of a business case to understand why accessibility is important. What is the scale of the market we're talking about? The number of people, the diversity of those people that are out there that we're trying to connect to. There's always data available from government agencies to help us understand and show this information as well.

So every government department, every government in the world usually will have a statistics organisation or an agency that will collate a lot of this information. And then there's always independent organisations out there who will compile and present information around this demographic data. So the more of this you can get your hands on to help present this information, the better it's gonna be for you.

I also would advise you don't limit the argument to just purely people with disability. You want to try to broaden out the argument as widely as you can so that you can make the market seem as big as possible for this opportunity that we're trying to present within the business. So in doing that, think about your inclusive design principles.

So there's permanent disability, but there's also situational and temporary disability that we should be considering as well. So good thing that you can use as an example is around things like language where English may be a second language for some people and the ability to make the language as easy to understand as possible benefits not just some people with disabilities, but also can benefit people from different cultural backgrounds or different language backgrounds as well. So we start to broaden these scenarios out, to add more weight to our argument of what we're trying to propose and promote. Try to also stay away from negativity in your business case, 'cause the purpose of business case is about opportunity.

We're trying to find an opportunity for the business to do better, the business to make better benefits, better improvements, better super customers. So we really want to steer the conversation around defining the market as how this is an opportunity. And lastly, move beyond the data and try to humanise the issue. A really good example of this is when you're describing all these raw numbers, take a bit of a case study element and highlight on a person and you can say, here is Alice, who happens to be blind and a mother of two children, and this is how she operates and the type of things that she's interested in and her buying habits.

All of that starts to now connect with different motivators for different people from both the people who lack the raw numbers to those people who are looking for that empathetic connection. And by humanising the data and putting a human face of some form onto that data, you just strengthen your argument to try to promote your case that you're putting forward. So it's a good example of types of data. I've got the slide here and a whole bunch of stats I'm gonna talk through just really briefly. But there is the obvious one many of us tend to use, which is the one in five people in Australia have some form of disability.

That statistic will vary depending on different jurisdictions. There are some statistics in the United States that would suggest it's one in four. There are 1.3 billion people with a disability globally. 8% of males experience colorblindness. 90% of people speak a language other than English at home. That's here in Australia.

2 million people are estimated in Australia to have dyslexia. 11 million Australians will experience a mental health condition during their lifetime. 27% of Australians were born overseas.

44% of Australian adults lack the literacy skills required for everyday life. And these statistics, although these are from an Australian perspective, there are the equivalent of these statistics for every country and jurisdiction around the world, including global estimates as well. So what you want to do is you want to tap into this information and try to present this information in a way that creates the broadest audience argument you can in support of not just accessibility for people with disability, but everybody else across the spectrum that we're looking at from society and community. Now the next area I tend to like to look at is the financial side. I'm a numbers guy. I love looking at numbers.

I love making sure the money's coming in, the revenue's come in that we can pay our expenses, that we can look after our team. And so every business is usually driven very heavily from that financial motivator. Now, one thing that is generally out there is a bit of a misnomer is that people with disabilities don't have money. Now, the reality is that they do have money to varying degrees, as with everybody else across society, and they do have the ability to buy things and they have money to spend on things from basic essentials all the way through anything that they want. Now, some of the statistics are out there would suggests that we're looking at about a $1.2 trillion,

and that's US dollars, globally of spending power of the people with disability community. In the United States is about $650 billion. In Australia it could be somewhere between 40 to $60 billion. Now, that itself is really powerful and different jurisdictions will refer to it in different ways. Like if you go to the UK, they refer to this concept as the Purple pounds. But there's another element to this which is also really important, which is, again, don't limit yourself just to the people with disability community.

And only then what you want to remember is that that community has very close family and friends as well, and those family and friends will sometimes and more often not be very influenced by the experiences of people with disabilities. Now if you include the influenced group into the audience numbers we're talking about here, that buying power now escalates to an additional six to seven factor increase from those base numbers. That is a very powerful community and sort of revenue stream to try to tap into. Now there's another element. There's a flip side to this.

So it's not always just about making money, but there's also about saving money when it comes to financial side of things. So one example of this is I remember many years back I was working with a government agency and we were making a shift from face to face interaction services through to telephone interaction services through to online interaction services. And what was really interesting is the cost of delivery dropped exponentially as you went from face to face to telephone to online. Online delivery is generally the most cost effective way to deliver a service.

And so it makes sense to try to make that most cost effective way of delivering service available to everybody, because that's gonna make it as cost effective for the business. Now, here's an all government agency or anyone else. So you're saving money. Now, that doesn't mean we want to avoid face to face delivery services or telephone delivery services, because every user should be allowed that opportunity to make their own decision about what service channel worked best for them. But here's the funny little hook on this. If you make the cheapest service delivery model, it's too difficult to actually utilise and create trade barriers for that.

All you end up doing is you force people to have to go to the most expensive delivery channels. And that's not necessarily a personal choice they're making. It's a choice that they are being forced towards. And that is bad for business. So again, give that consideration.

You wanna make all your service channels as accessible as possible and give that opportunity of choice to everybody. And ideally, if you've made that appropriate and good, it's gonna steer people naturally towards what would tend to be the more cost effective service channels. The next element we also wanna keep in mind is the concept of the shifting left. Now, the concept of shifting left is this idea that the earlier we focus on implementing accessibility into any service design, service delivery, development of a system or an application, the more cost effective it's going to be.

There are some statistics out there from Foster when it comes to improving or adding in issue fixes into an application, digital application, that if you wait till after you've released that application or system, the cost to actually make a new improvement or change can be 30 times more expensive than what it would have been if you'd actually designed for it right from the beginning of the project. So here's the thing. If we focus on accessibility at the beginning of a project or build process of a system of any type, internal applications, websites, mobile applications, e-commerce systems, you're actually going to save money as an organisation. So you might just well do it upfront, save the money now versus not doing it and then costing yourself money later on when you're probably gonna get in a situation where you're forced to do it. Now, the next thing I wanna touch on is behaviour.

So what are the actions of that market we're trying to touch with and try to interact with? So every organisation I ever talk with, your objective is to try to get more customers. So we not only wanna try to get customers, but from a business thinking perspective is we want quality customers as well. And a quality customer is someone who basically is gonna stay with you for a long time, and is going to spend a lot of money with you as well. That is ultimately what a business is trying to do.

So, how does that relate to people with disabilities? Well, here's an interesting thing. Nielsen Research has looked into that community, and they came up with some really interesting knowledge learnings from their research. One of which was that people with disabilities are sticky customers. Now, sticky customers does not mean they're covered in honey and that they've got a sticky element to them from that perspective. Sticky basically means that they stay longer with you as an organisation and as a business. And ideally from any organisation, the longer you can keep your customers with you and to avoid churn rate, the better it's going to be for you as an organisation.

Now, there's a variety of reasons why people are sticky, and I've got anecdotal examples out there as well. And I remember a conversation I was having with a person who happened to be blind. And they were complaining about a bank that they were a customer of, and they wanted the bank to improve their services. And they're complaining about the systems not being as accessible for them as they would like. And I pose what I thought was just a really obvious question, which is why don't you change to a different bank? And it was interesting and fascinating the feedback I got, which was like, I don't want to. I'm uncomfortable with the bank I've got.

So this is an interesting thing with people with disabilities, and I'm not gonna say this is applicable to every single person with disabilities, just like it's not applicable to every single person across society. We had these arguments like every year, you should check your insurance provider to make sure you're getting the best deal and shop around. But what ends up happening is some people with disabilities do not want to go through that process of shopping around, and they like to be very loyal to brands or look after them because there are so many brands and service providers out there who don't look after them and who don't want to support them.

So when they find a brand that they are getting used to and comfortable with, they are much more likely to stay with that brand and work with them and be sticky. And that is ultimately what every business wants. They want customers to stay with them for a long time and to be a customer for them for a very long time. Now, the other interesting thing is that Nielsen found that people with disabilities also tend to spend more per transaction. And it was a reasonable chunk of additional funding that they would generally spend per transaction. And what this means is it's not only are people with disabilities sticky customers who will stay with you longer, but they will tend to spend more per transaction as well.

And for me as a business person, it's like, well, isn't that just describes the perfect sort of customer you're looking for? I remember during my master's of business administration, when we're talking about marketing and getting customers and the type of customers you want, this is exactly what describes the nature of customers you want as a business, and it happens to be a fairly defined community that has these traits that we want to get. Now, another interesting research has been done at the UK, which is from the group around the click away pound, which where they found that 69% of people with disabilities will click away from a site that has barriers. And that's also really important to know because we've just described how these customers are really valuable customers from being long staying sticky customers, higher spend rate per transaction. But if they're jumping away from your site very early and before they even get to transactional stage because of barriers, you're losing the ability to actually tap into that community, which is negative for what you try to achieve and try to capture in that market.

And here's another wonderful thing to always keep in mind is that an accessible, usable site is ultimately gonna benefit everyone. And it's interesting because although it can be sometimes much more distinct for people with disabilities, those barriers, those barriers are still there for everybody else at times, particularly when it comes to the usability issues. So again, if we were to target this community, which is the people with disabilities community, and ensure that our environment is accessible for them and usable for them, not only do we tap into that community, but we tap into or create a better environment for the broader community that is out there as well across society, which is only gonna benefit the organisation and ideally benefits revenue figures and sales figures and customer satisfaction feedback. And so all of this, although we're focused on people with disabilities, the reason why I'm tackling these other scenarios is that with all of this, we are tapping into all those arguments in a business and what they're trying to focus on. They're trying to focus on, can we get a market? Can we improve our customer satisfaction? How do we get more money per transaction from each person? We want to tap into that language that is used within the business, but steer it towards this community that we want them to look after and support and benefit. Now there's another great area here, which is risks and consequences.

So every business case should always have information in it around their risks and consequences of inaction, or maybe going down a different path or a different approach. Now, risks and consequences are normally not something I tend to lead with in any conversation when it comes to accessibility. It's what I generally refer to as the stick and carrot scenario, and I tend to find that the stick approach where, and I see it way too often, are our accessibility community, as a community tend to try to threaten people with you will get sued or you're a bad person for not thinking about people with disabilities.

Unfortunately, the behavioural impact that has on the other person that you in a sense are threatening is really negative and tends to not bring them to the table as being a supporter for what they're trying to do. So I like to always steer anything around a business case or a business argument, primarily starting at the opportunities and the business benefits the carrot approach first, because the greater benefits that generates in connecting with people to your argument and what you try to portray. But like any good business, they also need to pay attention to risks and consequences. So it doesn't mean that we don't talk about it. We just need to make sure that we talk about it in the right proportion to that business benefit side of the discussion. But also, we don't talk about it in a talking down threatening way, but more, as a matter of fact, objective.

Here's the realities that are there. So if we take, for example, one risk that is out there is the legal risk. There is a legal risk that big organisation may get sued if their sites are inaccessible. Now that risk is going to vary according to jurisdictions. So if we look at a jurisdiction like the United States, that legal risk is relatively high and sometimes increasing and has been increasing over the last few years.

If we look at other jurisdictions like Japan, for example, that risk is low to negligible. And even the same thing here in Australia where that legal risk is very low. It can still happen in Australia, but unfortunately it is not very prevalent as a situation. And when you start talking to high level executive decision makers, one thing decision makers, when they get to those executive roles get very good at is assessing risk.

So if you start to throw around legal risks and you overhype the reality of those risks, it undermines your argument if these people who are much better at assessing risk, look at it and go, really, you're full of it, or the risk level is so small it's negligible from our consideration perspective. All you ultimately end up doing is undermining the overall argument or undermining all the other facts and information you've been portraying as part of your business case. So we don't avoid it, but we need to make sure that we are communicating it in a very factual basis and very objective basis. There is another one that is a little bit more, I think, important than legal risk in most jurisdictions beyond the United States, and that is the brand reputation risk. What we've been seeing more often lately is that there are parts of society that are getting a lot more proactive when it comes to attacking brands and reputations for doing the wrong thing.

And we see this a lot nowadays where people it's referred to a little bit as cancel culture. I actually think there's some really distorted views around the definition of cancel culture. But I think there's definitely an element to culture now where they will take their money and their dollars away from organisations 'cause they do not agree on their practices as a business or their social impact out out in the world or their operational approaches. And so when we start to see the situation occurring, when it comes to a social challenge like being able to support people with disabilities, we are starting to see brand reputational impact start to come from that. Now a good example of this was about a year and a half, two years ago, where Twitter got themselves into a little bit of hot water because they released some new features, and those features were not accessible. And what ended up happening was there was a fairly big outcry around the inaccessibility of these new features.

And subsequent to that, Twitter's start to backpedal quite a bit and they backpedaled from that scenario, and they've tried to ensure that they got better moving forward at communicating that out there or communicating and implementing accessibility for new features that were subsequently coming from that. But it was a good example of where grassroots reputational damage can come from, from those advocacy communities who are there looking after people with disabilities, but also the people with disabilities community itself, and them getting very loud and vocal about what's not working for them and people latching onto that and supporting that as well. Now there is a third one here, which is around procurement as well, which is we are also seeing in many jurisdictions an increasing implementation of guidelines and standards predominantly starting in the government space. But we are starting to see it more in the corporate space as well, where organisations are setting a requirement for any services, digital products or assets that they're needing to meet minimum accessibility standards.

And so what this now means is that if you have a product or service that is inaccessible, you're going to start to find that you've got a no entry sign to a lot of these government agencies predominantly in Europe and the UK. Canada started to implement it. United States had Section 508. It's EN301549 in the EU, European Union.

Australia started going down the same path as well, having implemented the European Union's ICG accessible procurement standard as well. So why limit your ability to get into these organisations by building something that's inaccessible when accessibility is becoming a fundamental requirement? There are other risks and consequences out there around things like SEO, search engine optimization, and being able to be seen as a website if your website's inaccessible. Google started to put some tweaks to the engine to really put prioritisation more to sites that have higher accessibility standards too, and there are definitely giving plenty of others out there. Now I've just covered off a whole bunch of types of content you can actually put into your business case itself. Now, I'm not gonna say that this is the limited, definitive list of information that you can be putting into a business case. This is why it's important to both understand your organisation, understand some of these sort of types of measure you can put in there, but also doing you further additional research of any other information that you can find that helps you present and promote the case for accessibility to your organization to ensure that your organization is doing the right thing.

Now, I'm a little bit faster than I first expected. And I did have an example here I was gonna give, which is a bit of a case example of how would we talk to certain organisations around embracing accessibility. And a good example I've heard of a few times which organisation or what people have said is really hard to connect with is the startup industry. And people have said to me how the startup industry, because they're so lean and they spend very little money trying to build a new product, tend to not focus on accessibility, is generally viewed as an afterthought for that community. And I've heard a lot where people sought of go, we don't understand why they're not implementing and embracing accessibility. Why isn't it part of a minimum viable product? All these (INAUDIBLE) arguments and I've always come back to do you understand the nature of that organisation in a startup environment and have them connect with that? And what do I mean by that is that when you're setting up a startup, you're usually setting up with no money, so there's no money to start off with.

You're usually trying to focus on trying to find a 1% in the market community of customers who will buy you whatever product you can get together in its most rough and ready form so that you can get money off of them to then use that money to invest back into the product, to build the product out and repeat. And then hopefully as you build on product out, you capture more customers and off you go. And so people tend to misunderstand what that community is being driven by.

And so once we start to understand that that community is driven by two main factors. One, limited to no money, and B, trying to get a customer base. That can help us now start to define an argument for where they should focus their efforts.

And one of those arguments is look at those reasons for why we want to support the disability community. The disability community is a underserviced and undersupported by organizations out there, so there is a market there that can be tapped into its community that's got money to spend. They are a sticky customer, loyal customer base.

They spend more per transaction. And so if you're a startup and you focus on that community group, you've now built yourself a fundamental base of customers that you can then build off into the broader community that's out there. So it all comes down to understanding your organisation or understanding where the organisation is coming from and how to move that forward. The best case example I've got of an example of that from many years back is Zoom itself. Zoom many years ago approached the University of Washington to sell their video conferencing tool into the university as their video conferencing tool for the university. And the university came back to them and basically said, we need to make sure whatever product we get is actually accessible.

And zoom didn't say, Ah, OK, now this is what it is, take it or leave it. They turned around to the University and basically said, Oh, great, can we work with you to make our product accessible for your requirements so that you are happy and we've met those requirements and we can have you as a customer? And the answer was yes, they work together. And what I found really fascinating is up until we entered the era of the pandemic, Zoom ended actually being the video conferencing tool of choice for the disability community. Zoom inadvertently tapped that community as one of their core community groups and audience groups. So every organisation can do this. We just sort of have to be sometimes what we created it, thinking about the nature of the problem and moving beyond the very fortunately, what I would use simplistic argument that it's a human right.

Now, no one's disagreeing with that. You know, as I've said, fundamentally, you want everyone to do the right thing, but we have to work towards society as it is and as it will be for many years, decades, centuries ahead. We've got to work with reality that is there. So let's try to do that.

OK. So on this slide, I've got some useful references. So this will be part of the video itself and when we released the slide deck. So some of the types of information I sort of go to for some of this core information is here around some of that buying power information, some of the Nielsen's information and so forth, including the W3C, has a whole wealth of information around building business case information as well. Now, questions and answers. I'm pretty well on time, which is for those people who know me is a very rare thing to be on time.

So I wanna open it out. I'm gonna look over, so my eyes are gonna vary a little bit because I've got screens all over the place here and I'm gonna look to see what sort of questions are popping up at the moment. So one which I may have inadvertently answered from Kirstie, which is for a start up environment, what is the best way to bring accessibility into the business culture? What is the best way to get your team involved? So I touched on a little bit about that, about understanding the customer side of things and communicating that customer audience.

But I'd also argue that a really important thing for any organisation is also employing people with disabilities. A big thing I tend to find around organisations and disabilities is it's an unfamiliarity situation. So most people are not familiar or comfortable being around people with disabilities, and it's for no other reason than it's just a lack of interaction. It purely is. It's like with anything when we don't know somebody, when we don't know what type of community they are an unknown for us.

And we have a little bit of what is called the crocodile brain where anything that's unknown or not part of my tribe must be potentially dangerous. It's not said it is, but potentially dangerous. And so we tend to avoid that scenario and we play very defensively or cautiously around that. So I find that the best way to navigate past that little crocodile brain response function is familiarity and actually interacting with real people irrespective of their diversity. And this is why diversity inclusion is so important because the more we interact with different people, the more familiar we get with those different people and the more understanding we gain about why we want to look after them and support them and how we can best look after them and support them. So I think those elements combined together is what can really help a start up culture on that side of things.

Looking at some more questions. I mentioned disability market as being 40 billion in Australia. Over what time period? I've heard 50 million a year previously. It's around per year. So thank you, Zoe, for this question.

These figures are annual figures from that slide. So Australia can be somewhere between 40 to $60 billion potentially a year as the spending power, and that's both on essential services and disposable income. But it will vary. And I still think there does need to be a lot more research in this space for us to understand the absolute or get a tighter understand what that spending power is. But I think it's not a far stretch to talk in these sort of figures. These figures are pretty reasonable and I would say at times very conservative of what the actual spending power is of the disability community.

Another question I've got here is how to gather current data of number of people with different disabilities worldwide. Is there a website which publish such data regularly? Good question. I don't actually have a definitive answer for (UNKNOWN). I believe the UN may have some of that information available on some of the data research work that they do, 'cause I believe they start compiling a lot of that data from different government agencies together, but I'm not 100% certain about that. So I'd have to come back to you and I'd have to probably do a little bit of quick research to try to find some of the best global data that might be out there.

There are some groups out there like the return on Disability Organisation, which tries to present some of that information as well. Again, all these different organisations are doing their best to try to present information in the best ways they can based on the available data you can get your hands on to. Another question from Kirsty. With limited funding as a start up, how would you spread out your areas of focus for accessibility, especially when there is a limited budget? One of the important things I'd say, Kirsty, is when you are designing any new product or service, you wanna conduct usability testing and customer testing to make sure you actually have a market there. So if that is part of what is gonna make any startup successful, why don't you actually then ensure that when you're doing that testing, you're doing it with people with disabilities as your core group to start with 'cause they generally will represent the whole community anyways. But they also have a range of individual preferences and requirements that they need to meet their needs.

So why not just use that as the group that you want to tap into as your testing environment? The other one is, as I was mentioning earlier about shift work, start really early to make sure that anything you build is as accessible as possible in the early days, because ultimately you're gonna have to rebuild things anyway, so you're gonna save yourself money down the track as a startup. What else? That's General. Thank you. From Zoe. Thank you, Zoe about (INAUDIBLE).

Kirsty, another question. Kirsty, you're very much in the questions today. Love them though.

Also, how would you push for accessible awareness within your suppliers? Is it a black and white conversation or we will use or not use certain suppliers or is there grey areas in this space? That one's got a little bit of a there's a double sort of waiting to that. There are a lot of large organisations now starting to enforce their policies stronger around the need for digital accessibility. A good example of recess is Barclays Bank actually have as part of procurement policy the requirement for any services they source to be accessible. Telstra and Coles do the same thing here in Australia. And that is useful for usually when things are being built for them or they have a lot of variety of options to choose from and accessibility can be a differentiator in your favour.

Where it can sometimes become a little bit unstuck is where you're dealing with organisations where you don't have a lot of influence over them. So Intopia is a small company, for example. We use a lot of business systems. We wanna make sure every system we've got is actually 100% accessible for our whole team because we have a very diverse and inclusive team, but we don't have a lot of influence to be able to do that for every organisation. I can't naturally turn around to some business products that are out there and say, I'm not gonna buy your product unless you make it accessible.

I'm not gonna turn around and look at me, go, well, you're gonna only spend 1,000 or $5,000 a year with us. We don't care about you. So yeah, there is definitely grey areas in that space and even larger organisations will find they will have that same problem, but sometimes they will have the ability to maybe influence improvements in those products to make them better as part of, let's just say, renewal of contracts. But the other thing is also ensuring that if you go into procurement process, then you add that into a lot of the contractual requirements because the moment you start putting into place things like penalty clauses to an organisation that says that they're gonna make something accessible and it's not and there's certainly a penalty clause in play, you get a lot more leverage to make sure you're getting what you want and doing less compromising at the end of the the procurement process. I am out of questions at the moment. If anyone else has any further questions, feel free to throw it into the Q&A.

CHRIS: Stewart I'm just gonna flag one of our attendees, Kylie Pollack has their hands raised. Kylie, if you're listening, I've just given you permission to talk. So if you take yourself off mute, you should be able to ask a question.

STEWART: Thank you, Chris. Hello, Kylie. Your hand's been lowered, but we're not hearing anything.

You're off mute. You're on mute now, but. No problems, Kylie. Those things happen about accidentally knocking the button.

But thank you for listening in as well, Kylie. I am just gonna have another quick quiz at Q&A. Zoe's asked about the Zoom story and which university. So it was the University of Washington in the United States. I think that was Washington State, if I remember correctly. And if you do a bit of a search for I think it's Zoom accessibility and University of Washington, there is a case study floating around online from a few years back, and you should be able to find that and see some of that information relate to that case study, 'cause to me, we're always looking for good case examples that we can showcase to people around why it makes good business decisions to focus on accessibility.

I mean, we all would love to have a Tim Cook, CEO of Apple who basically turn around when he was asked about the return on investment for accessibility. He basically said something along the lines of, I couldn't give a damn about the return on investment. Accessibility is just a (INAUDIBLE) requirement and we need to make it happen. And we definitely want everyone to do that. Here's an interesting thing I've noticed.

Those people who are CEOs and senior leaders who tend to support this fullheartedly and are big advocates for it, tend to have a very close connection to disability in some way or form. And so this comes back to, again, of how do we connect decision makers with the disability community in a positive way so that they can learn about the disability community without feeling like they're being threatened or judged, or that they're gonna make a mistake or a faux pas by saying the wrong thing. I know it's frustrating. Every time I talk with the disability community and hear from the disability community, I hear the frustrations and I get the frustrations from even whenever I get frustrated with really bad technology and I get it on very limited examples, whereas there are people out there who experience on a daily basis and that daily frustration. The challenge you've got is trying not to let that frustration overflow at times to the point where people feel like they're being threatened or needing to.

Unfortunately, sometimes walk around on eggshells is definitely a place where we need strong advocacy. It's definitely a place where we need people to be jumping up and down, arguing in favour of the disability community. But we also need to counterbalance that with these other, more subtle approaches where we can bring as many people to the disability community and learn about the disability community and the benefits of working with the disability community as we can, because that I think ultimately that's a two pronged approach is going to benefit the broader disability community as much as we can possibly make it. It looks like I have one more.

Jitendra, in these start ups I have seen when people talk about early improving business, they say they keep getting customer feedback, but almost none of them are usually about improving accessibility or the feedback is not about lack and support of keyboard and screening or accessibility or any other early related feedback. Yeah, that's an interesting one, Jitendra. It's like the argument I hear every now and then from organisations we work with where they say, we don't have customers with disabilities.

And it's a chicken and egg argument at times because like that click away pound scenario, they may not get any feedback from anyone because they just click away or go somewhere else. And so sometimes we need to demonstrate to people and organisations about what people with disabilities are really experiencing. And that's not gonna probably come in as from the feedback side. On the flip side, I actually would encourage people with disability to provide as much feedback as possible to organisations because without that feedback organisations, even the advocates within an organisation don't have the information to use to champion for accessibility in the organisation. They can't go right away.

Look, there were like 50 feedback issues here around accessibility. So again, it's a two pronged approach to the disability community. We need to support them in providing more feedback. I'm gonna make the assumption, which I know was not true in every scenario, that the feedback, methods and processes and tools are accessible, which unfortunately usually not.

But on the flip side, we need to explain to organisations that they may not be seen as customers because the system is already so bad to start off with. My other pet hate, and it's a serious pet hate is when organisations try to do voting scenario on feedback on issue feedback and what should be fixed and what shouldn't be fixed. And honestly, any organisation who does that in relation to accessibility issues, I really would like to get my hands on them because we really it's not something that should be up for voting ever. It is something that should be taken on merit and focused on merit, not focused on the voting overview community, because it's a misguided metric approach to dealing with those types of issues. OK.

I've got 6 minutes left. So what I think we'll do is we'll leave the question answers at this moment. And I'm gonna move on to just a few last minute little bits and pieces here. Next webinar for Intopia is going to be an Ask Me Anything with a panel of four people with lived experience. We're going to be hosting that on Thursday, the 19th of May, as part of Global Accessibility Awareness Day.

It's a great opportunity for some of the things we've just been talking about, where anybody who's unfamiliar with the experiences of people with disabilities to participate in this webinar and ask those questions, those burning questions that you never felt like you could ask. We always get great people on our panels who are always really open and happy to try to answer any of those type of questions that people have about their lived experience and working with digital technology. So a great opportunity for people to come along and learn more from people with disabilities. I would also lastly like to put thank yous out there for the AI-media who have been providing our live captions for this webinar. I wanna thank everyone of you who's attended today or is watching this video at some time later on for participating and taking some time out to learn a little bit more about the business case for accessibility.

And I really hope that I've been able to give you some information that you're gonna find useful and be able to better apply and implement in your organisation to champion for accessibility and to help us promote accessibility and build this case so that we have more organisations actually applying accessibility for making the world for people with disability better, but also the world for everyone better, 'cause I really like the world to be a lot more usable for everybody. If you have any questions or would like to know more or would like to talk more around business cases for accessibility, feel free to reach out to me at my Twitter account, which is @ohmydeity, o-h-m-y-d-e-i-t-y, or you can email me at Stewart, s-t-e-w-a-r-t, i-n-t-o-p-i-a.d-i-g-i-t-a-l. Thank you again, everyone, for your time.

It's been a pleasure and I really wish you all the best for rest of today or whatever day it is when you are watching this.

2022-05-16 13:21

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