This topic was originally covered by ​Jason McKee, Founder at Perspective Tester, in a panel discussion at LeadsCon 2021.

In an increasingly digital world, much of our daily life plays out online – and with the massive shift to remote work to accommodate social distancing measures, the internet connects us now more than ever. 

But did you know that 98% of the web is inaccessible to people with disabilities

That’s incredibly isolating under regular circumstances, but even more so now within the context of the COVID-19 health crisis. Access to online services and resources is a matter of survival for people in isolation. As a result, there has been a rise in accessibility efforts from sites to close that gap. 

In this post, we’re going to talk about a site feature that performance marketers cannot afford to overlook when addressing accessibility concerns: lead forms. 

Why Accessibility Matters for Your Lead Forms

We’ve already discussed the issue of accessibility online as a whole, but for lead generation, there are specific things to consider. 

So, why do you need to build accessible lead forms? 

Well, for starters, you’re legally required to. The Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA) stipulates that all Americans, regardless of disability, must have the same access to physical and digital properties. This has since been updated to expand the definition of digital accessibility and of disability. Failure to comply with the ADA can result in serious legal issues. 

Another consideration is lost revenue. 

According to data from the CDC, 26% of Americans are living with disabilities. That includes significant visual impairments, hearing impairments, and motor disabilities – all of which can make using your average website next to impossible. That’s a lot of people that might not be able to purchase your products or services, even though they might want to, simply because they cannot fill out and submit your lead form. 

And this doesn’t just apply to companies who sell things with an elderly target audience, like Medicare and Medicaid. While disabilities like hearing and vision impairment are more common in older people, they’re not exclusive to that demographic. Performance marketers in every industry need to make sure their forms are accessible.

So, how do you do that?

How to Build Accessible Lead Forms

The first step to creating lead forms that are accessible by all visitors to your site is to review the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG), a series of standards set in place by the World Wide Web Consortium to help businesses build more inclusive, accessible spaces online. Currently, the standards to follow are the WCAG 2.1. 

By following these guidelines, as well as the requirements of compliance laws like the ADA, you’ll be off to a good start – but it’s not foolproof. You don’t know what you don’t know. As someone without disabilities, you might only be guessing at what is and isn’t accessible and falling short of meeting the actual needs of real site visitors with disabilities.

An example of this would be a form that highlights text in red if the user has missed an entry or filled it out incorrectly. To a person without visual impairment, this is an intuitive signal that they need to correct their error in order to resubmit the form. However, for a person with a severe visual impairment who may be using a screen reader, they wouldn’t be able to see the red text. That means they wouldn’t be able to correct their error or resubmit the form, making it an inaccessible form. 

To avoid this, run your forms past testers with disabilities. A service like Perspective Tester’s offers insight into the perspective of disabled users, how their needs are or aren’t being met, and provides solutions on how to bridge that gap. 

Following these recommendations should not only help you avoid ADA compliance risks with your lead generation, but also help you provide products and services to a wider range of potential customers. 

At the end of the day, it’s not just about navigating legal compliance or chasing lost revenue – building an accessible lead generation form is part of building a better, more inclusive business. And that’s always the right thing to do.