What is Digital Accessibility?
The right to access “public spaces” has expanded to include digital locations amid the proliferation of web use in our day-to-day lives. As our concept of public “spaces” evolve, so do our legal responsibilities to ensure digital content is accessible to all users.
Digital accessibility refers to the design and development of content and technology that can be used by everyone, including people with disabilities. It is commonly defined by compliance with various guidelines, including the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG), and legislation like the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA); Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, EN 301 549; The European Union’s Web Accessibility Directive; and the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA).
What Can Users Expect From an Accessible Digital Experience?
- Content available via different formats: Examples include closed captioning or audio transcripts for users who may be deaf or hard of hearing.
- Navigation available via flexible methods: Users that have difficulty using a mouse may navigate content using their keyboard, as well as alternative input methods, like touch or gesture inputs.
- Simple and intuitive content and design: For example, providing clear and concise instructions for filling out a form on a website.
- Compatibility with assistive technologies: For example, using standard HTML code on a website so that it can be easily accessed and read by different types of screen readers or other assistive technologies.
Many digital accessibility tools, such as closed captioning and gesture inputs, are convenient and utilized by all users, not just those with disabilities, thereby enhancing the overall user experience.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), approximately 15% of the world’s population, or more than one billion people, live with some form of a disability.
In a study by the Pew Research Center, just 38% of disabled Americans use the Internet – and about a fifth of them (19%) say their disability makes use of the Internet difficult.
The WHO-UNICEF Global Report on Assistive Technology (AT) reveals that more than 2.5 billion people need one or more assistive products, such as wheelchairs, hearing aids, or apps that support communication and cognition.
In the United States, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that one in four adults (25%), or 61 million people, have a disability.
In a survey conducted by WebAIM in 2023, across the one million home pages, 49,991,225 distinct accessibility errors were detected—an average of 50.0 errors per page.
In the United States, businesses have faced a growing number of lawsuits related to digital accessibility. In 2020 for example, there were more than 3,500 such lawsuits filed, according to the law firm Seyfarth Shaw.
Why Prioritize Digital Accessibility?
Common Misconceptions about Digital Accessibility
Why Choose Tek-Connect?
The accessibility and development teams at Tek-Connect can seamlessly collaborate with your organization to enhance your digital product accessibility, providing counsel and training on areas related to:
- Risk & Compliance Management
- Testing & Remediation
- Strategy & Market Insights
Our accessibility consultants are certified subject-matter experts with extensive experience in related areas of occupational therapy, ergonomics, user experience and inclusive design. To learn more, contact us today.