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Digital Accessibility: What is the purple pound? And how to create more accessible content?

Statistically speaking, people are most likely to be excluded from digital spaces if they are living with a disability, experiencing poverty, facing language barriers or long-term health conditions; and in Leeds alone, tens of thousands of adults are offline or lack essential digital skills – with that number rising to 11.9 million people across the UK – but how can organisations benefit from improving accessibility?

The Purple Pound is the estimated spending power of disabled households (disabled people and their families) in the UK. Currently (in 2020) it is thought to be worth £249 billion (and is expected to increase year on year).

“70% of UK websites currently exclude 20% of the population which means that these site visitors never return. By making simple changes to the website, we can improve how long visitors stay on the website, and who can access the information,” said Adam from Fallen Leaf Web Design.

So by shutting out disabled people from online sites and content not only is it unethical but it’s a bad business decision.

Could you imagine saying ‘this shop doesn’t welcome disabled people?’
But the good news is we can make changes to our websites and our content.
Plus content creators tend to be more trusted by their audience than traditional media outlets these days and we can all become powerful content creators in our own right even if we might be seen as a ‘micro influencer’ we can still ensure we have maximum impact.

How to create more accessible content

When it comes to neurotypical and neurodivergent people for example there is often an empathy gap and lack of understanding.
So co-production is important, sharing insights from one another.
Co-production is a means in which those who typically deliver services work alongside ‘service-users’, creating reciprocal relationships to achieve a collective outcome.
Those using or experiencing a service or product are in the best place to design it.
For example, someone autistic is best place to co-produce a service or product for someone who is autistic.

By Sophie Mei Lan @SophieMeiLan

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