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There’s no shame in having an inaccessible website

Not making any efforts to make it accessible is a whole different story…

The headline probably triggered some of you really hard, didn’t it? Good! Because it’s time for a wake-up call.

There’s no doubt that not having an accessible website or app is hurtful to your business. Excluding people does come with a cost. The massive ROI on making webshops accessible is proof of that. There’s a sweet business case about Tesco, a supermarket, that invested 35000 GBP in an accessible web shop, which resulted in 13 million GBP additional annual revenue. That’s a whopping 37000% ROI. You can read more about the Tesco case here.

Not everyone has this luxury

Yeah, Tesco took out the big guns. Boom, created a whole new shop. Impressive. But that’s not for everyone, to do so. Budget, time, finding the right people to build it, all possible reasons why a full relaunch or a full remediation is not a possibility on a short term.

Of course, making all your services and products accessible should come from the heart. Because it’s the right thing to do. And in an ideal world no one would have to fight for this. I’m part of the target group! I could come up with all kinds of emotional arguments. Words that will put site owners in my shoes and that of the users they seem to think they don’t have. I could make them feel so guilty on a human level, that they leave their desk after work, feeling all bad about themselves.

Negative motivation does not work

Making people feel bad on purpose, that’s a negative. Tough love is a negative. That’s coming from “no”.

I don’t know about you, but if someone comes at me with negatives the wrong way, my brain simply shuts down on that person. I’ll start to wonder about questions like “Do penguins actually have knees?”.

Taking it step by step is fine!

There is nothing wrong with going step by step. A first step in your existing site could be turning all those non-descriptive “click here”, “more info” and “here” links into logical text. By that, I mean text that makes sense to visitors (including search engines) when it’s displayed or read without context. Another step can be to add great alt text to images in articles. Furthermore, you can try to navigate your site with only the TAB and SHIFT-TAB keys. If you can’t see where you are at, while doing so, the focus styling has been disabled. It’s a piece of cake for any frontend developer to add focus styling to your site. Not hard, not expensive.

There are many more small steps you can take.

The only real mistake you can make is to do nothing.

Perfection the enemy of good. It’s what stops people from doing things in the first place. Because we live in a society that teaches us that instant perfection is the highest goal. We learn that if you can’t present something that’s perfect all at once, that it’s probably better not even to try.

Aside from taking the joy out of the journey, this kind of pressure makes many of us blind to what is really important. Progress. That’s important. So many great inventions would never have seen the light of day if the makers had not understood this.

Let me ask you this: do you remember how you felt as a kid, when you were scolded for something you were not aware of? Or for being punished for being too slow? That hurt, right? Especially when this happened in front of others. Like in class. Or in front of your siblings or friends.

It’s ok if you were unaware

Even I was unaware of the importance of digital accessibility until only a few years ago. And I have been creating websites for 25 years now! Many frameworks that sites are based on have not been developed with accessibility in mind. The same goes for many themes and plugins. There simply was no significant broad awareness about this topic until now. It has not been brought to people’s attention in the places where it mattered and still matters. But that is changing now. Especially now that the EU comes with strong legislation: The European Accessibility Act. As of 28 June 2025, companies must ensure that the newly marketed products and services covered by the Act are accessible. As per that date, customers will be able to file complaints before national courts or authorities if services or products do not respect the new rules.

The question that prompted me to write this

Since I made it public that I am working with the team of GREYD.SUITE, I’ve had to listen to people asking me: “If they think accessibility is so important, why didn’t they fix their own website first? It has accessibility flaws!”

To me, those are all questions of the same kind, that I get aimed at me: “Why do you speak at inaccessible events? Why do you agree to be a guest on podcasts that do not publish a transcript? Why are you in videos of companies that do not provide closed captions? The answer is very simple. So I can raise their awareness and that of its audience, on the inside! And if they like, they can hire me to work on it with them step by step. Really. It’s that simple.

The answer

And now to the answer of the apparently burning questions about GREYD. That answer is quite simple as well: They are working on it, step by step. They prioritise their web agency customers. Heck, they prioritised me as a customer, before they contracted me, making all the elements I needed in this website accessible. I’m using the classic WordPress theme that comes with their GREYD.SUITE. This means that most elements in their classic theme are already accessibility ready.

Now we’re working on both the extended remediation of the classic theme, and developing a brand-new WordPress block theme. Which is great. Because block themes come without a lot of accessibility hampering technical debt. I’m stoked about that new theme. And if you are curious, you can test the Suite and the new block theme (beta version) for free and for as long as you like. All feedback is more than welcome!