Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Hosting Companies Not Good Hosts

As a blind business woman, I depend heavily on my hosting company to help me with various functions which in the normal scheme of things can be easily performed by anyone who is sighted and has a bit of technical knowledge. Why is this so?

For the most part, it is practically impossible for persons with vision impairment to be able to access and work with hosting panels. Consequently, blind and visually-impaired persons have to depend on their hosting companies to help them with such functions as domain registrations and renewals, website maintenance and updates, web design and development, and more. Up until January 2009, I had the good fortune to have had a hosting company that truly understood the meaning of the word service. They went above the call of duty to ensure that my needs as a blind person were met. Since then, it has been a bit of a rocky road for me.

I have researched over 25 hosting companies across North America and to my chagrin I am here to report that almost all of them were unwilling to help me. Surprising you ask? Not really! Most hosting companies are only concerned with collecting their revenues and not too concerned with customer support and satisfaction. They claim that their hosting panels are easy to navigate but truth be told, they are not. If you are not technically savvy then you are in trouble and add to this the extra burden of having to work with these congested panels when you are unable to see what you're doing. In one sentence, most hosting panels are inaccessible and unusable to persons who are not technically savvy and to those who are unable to see. In short, most hosting companies are not very good hosts towards many of their customers.

So how can we begin to tackle this problem? As I see it, through education. We need to convince hosting companies that they need to design and develop hosting panels that are more accessible and usable. If they are more accessible and usable, then many more customers would be enticed to use their services. Aging baby boomers did not grow up in the age of technology and are the market that hosting companies should be gravitating towards. Too often, companies as a whole seem to forget that there is a real market out there with real consumers and real demand: consumers who are not technically savvy, consumers who did not grow up in the era of the Internet and modern technology, and consumers who are visually impaired.

I'm Donna J. Jodhan wishing you a terrific day and reminding you to go out there and start educating your hosting company on how they can become bigger and better hosts.

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