March 24, 2023
Product Management
Product Strategy

Accessibility – What Is It Good For? Absolutely Everything!

What is accessibility compliance?  Well, according to the Interaction Design Foundation, accessibility compliance is “the practice of designing and developing products and services that can be used by people with disabilities, including visual, auditory, physical, and cognitive disabilities.”

What is the difference between usability and accessibility? Usability is about whether designs are effective, efficient and satisfying to use. Accessibility, on the other hand, is concerned with designs that enable all users to have an equivalent user experience, however they engage a product or service (e.g., using assistive devices). Unlike usability, accessibility focuses on people with disabilities.

As a product manager, it is important for you to understand and incorporate accessibility requirements into the development process, to ensure that your products are usable by everyone, regardless of their abilities. In this blog post, we will explore why knowledge of accessibility requirements is important for product managers.

One of the primary reasons that accessibility is important is that there are legal requirements that must be met. Many countries, including the United States, Canada, and the European Union, have laws and regulations (Forbes, 2023) that require products and services to be accessible to people with disabilities. Failure to comply with these laws can result in fines, lawsuits, and damage to a company's reputation. Product managers unfamiliar with accessibility requirements may overlook these regulations and put their companies at risk.

That being said, as a product manager, you must also consider your ethical responsibility to ensure that your products are accessible to everyone. By creating products that are accessible, you can help to empower people and create a more inclusive society. Accessibility is not only a legal and business requirement, but also a moral imperative.

Another reason you should be familiar with accessibility standards is that compliance can increase the your user base. According to the World Health Organization, approximately 16% of the world's population lives with some form of disability. Depending upon your product category, you may miss out on a significant portion of your market if your products are not accessible. By incorporating accessibility requirements into the development process, you can expand your user base and reach a larger audience.

Along the same lines, accessibility can provide a competitive advantage for your company. By creating products that are accessible, you can help differentiate your company and attract new customers. This is especially true in industries where accessibility is not yet widely adopted. By incorporating accessibility requirements into the development process, you can help your company stand out in the market.

Finally, while accessibility is important for people with disabilities, it can also improve the user experience overall. For example, captions and transcripts for videos not only benefit people with hearing impairment, but can also make content more accessible to people who speak a different language, or who are in a noisy environment. Larger font sizes and high-contrast colors can benefit people with low vision, but can also make the content easier to read for everyone. By ensuring that your products are designed with accessibility in mind, you can ensure a better user experience for everyone.

To summarize, knowledge of accessibility requirements is essential for product managers. Accessibility is not only a legal requirement but also a business and ethical imperative. Incorporating accessibility requirements into the development process can help to expand your user base, improve user experience overall, and provide a competitive advantage.

Product managers who prioritize accessibility can help to create a more inclusive society and make a positive impact in the world.

This report by will give you some insight into who is succeeding at accessibility and who is not.