The main focus of the study was the analysis of the benefits and costs of improved e-Accessibility for society as a whole and for the organisations providing ICT based services. On the user side the target of potential beneficiaries considered includes persons with disabilities and older persons with age-related functional limitations. The study considers both tangible and intangible benefits. The perspective has been from a societal and economic point of view. It provides the first empirically grounded analysis of the extra costs that organisations must bear to make their website accessible, this means net of other ICT costs they would incur anyway.
In more general terms and in relation to the policy implications, the evidence on costs and benefits of Web Accessibility suggest that there is a very strong rationale for introducing Web Accessibility legislation on the grounds of equality/anti-discrimination, as demonstrated by the large size of the potential benefits for people with disabilities from web accessibility, which reflect the disbenefits that they currently experience because of a lack of web accessibility. Also the internal market rationale is important (but more complex), as comprehensive policy measures could clearly tear down market barriers and fragmentation and reduce the costs of web accessibility (competitive internal market for accessible ICT products and services), but some short-term extra costs on public and private organisations may be added.
Business Case Tool
The study has developed a Business Case Tool that practitioners can use to quantify ex ante the costs of their investments into Web Accessibility and provide guidelines as to which benefit can be considered.
The study team produced two different versions of the BCT, one intended to be used for calculating the estimations and extrapolations (labelled as BCT Macro) and another one aimed to be used by users willing to calculate the costs and benefits for their organisation if their website is rendered accessible (labelled as BCT Micro) (both can be accessed at http://www.eaccessibility-impacts.eu/researchResults.aspx). The latter has a more user-friendly interface/layout, and is intended for being disseminated among stakeholders interested in assessing the extra cost of web accessibility.