How do IT companies express their commitment to accessibility?
Many information technology (IT) companies provide public statements related to their products' accessibility to people with disabilities. Although some companies are criticized for publicly supporting accessible IT when it is not a genuine part of their practices, other companies provide leadership in the creation and support of accessible products.
Some of the reasons that companies provide public information about their commitment to accessibility are:
- to share their corporate philosophy with current employees, job applicants, and potential investors.
- to help shape company policies by making accessibility goals explicit and public.
- to create a starting point for dialogue for accessibility advocates who are interested in the company's contributions.
- to minimize legal disputes, which may be costly.
- to act as an example for other companies who could offer accessibility information to the public.
- to showcase products and features to customers with disabilities.
- to increase profitability by expanding into new markets (for example, having accessible products might be required for selling to certain customers).
Examples of company statements and resources regarding IT accessibility are included on the following web pages:
- Accessibility at Microsoft talks about accessibility features found in Microsoft products and has links to case studies and articles that discuss best practices and lessons learned.
- AT&T shares information about its Advisory Panel on Access and Aging. It talks about why AT&T is concerned about accessibility features for its customers with disabilities, lists biographies of task force members, and includes a link to AT&T Disability Resources.
- IBM's page called Identifying reasons for producing accessible content and products shares its corporate philosophy, market impact, regulations, and global standards.
For related information, consult the Knowledge Base articles, VPAT: A Promising Practice in Accessibility Reporting and What is accessible electronic and information technology?.