May 19, 2022, marks the 11th Global Accessibility Awareness Day (GAAD). The initiative behind GAAD was to focus on digital access and inclusion for people with disabilities and impairments.
Number of People with Disabilities
The current number of recorded people with disabilities has reached over 1 billion people, 15% of the population. With such a huge percentage of the population affected by unfair handicaps, the amount of resources is not yet widely as accessible.
Accessible.com has been one of the leading forces in leveling the playing field for all those with disabilities. Accessible.com focuses on solutions that make accessibility a part of the natural flow of content and user experience making it a seamless transition regardless of personal capabilities.
Companies are worrying now as more and more corporations have been in the spotlight for ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) compliance. Since signed by President George Bush Senior in 1990, the world has been reshifting its focus on accessibility and with the world shifting to the digital era, accessibility for all has become the standard.
Starting a new business has become easier with the resources becoming available with just a search word. It is not only easy to launch your business’s webpage but it’s absolutely necessary. The webpage acts as a portal from the consumer to the product and as such the portal should be widely accessible. In the US alone, there are 40 million residents who live with a disability.
Number of Websites without Accessibility
While a particular business may not apply to every person’s interest, this is an opportunity to build an audience that many are missing. 98% of the world’s top one million websites don’t offer full accessibility. 62% of those with disabilities claim to own a computer which is roughly 25 million people.
A possible 25 million people are unaccounted for when it comes to providing a fair experience. And those numbers may change but it’s a slow race to provide solutions. In a survey conducted by WebAIM, 42% of those with disabilities who own a computer claim that websites have not become any more accessible.
With so many disappointed consumers waiting for the next business to be more accessible, a seemingly untapped source of revenue is waiting to be acknowledged.
The diversity of disabilities
Web accessibility can come in different forms. Not everyone has one particular disability. Those with a visual impairment will not need the same accommodation as those who suffer from hearing loss. Considering the fact that the internet is inherently more of a visual experience, there are many hurdles the visually impaired must overcome in order to participate in the experience.
This article alone is something that cannot be accessed easily as it is completely a visual experience. Screen Readers provide an auditory solution by having the text turn into speech and sonically paint the world to the user’s ears.
Not all visual impairments are directly related to blindness, some impairments are related to color blindness. Many colors on these pages have indications of an interaction. Green usually means go or proceed while red indicates a regression or a cancellation of the designated forward movement.
What are the odds?
Considering that 1 in every 12 men and 1 in every 200 women suffer from color blindness, the need to provide more of a visual context to the navigation is required. Different variations of color blindness need to be accommodated. Tritanopia (Inability to differentiate between blue and yellow) and Protanopia (inability to distinguish red hues) are a few conditions to be considered when crafting your web page. The first step to testing a web page’s accessibility for the colorblind is to read and understand the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines.
To accommodate deafness, it does not simply relate to the audio experience on the site itself but also the experience beyond the site. Ways to communicate beyond the site play a factor as businesses often rely on phone calls solely to exchange business.
Moving towards communications that strive away from phone calls and allow for emails and live chats to be a fully functioning option will help the conversion of your client journey. Subtitled videos are a common accommodation and videos have automated software in place.
It is a good practice to ensure subtitles are up to date as well and to really provide an experience close to the auditory encounter, including nonverbal subtitles to give more context to the video content. Summarizing the content under the video as well helps with the overall experience as it fills in the gaps that may be missed in the audio lapse.
A great practice to utilize as it works for both people with disabilities and those who can reuse the summarized context for their own benefit. The effort that goes into the accommodation for all people often helps with the experience overall. Overall satisfaction from all consumers can help with the avoidance of legal trouble. Cited in 150 claims, video accessibility was the third most-cited purpose for 2020 lawsuits.
As the number of lawsuits continues to rise (2021 saw an increase of lawsuits surpassing 4,000 cases), it’s best to make the investment inaccessible. It is more costly to go through legal bounds as many of these solutions require a strong effort to meet compliances. If help is required in verification, there are plenty of businesses that offer their service to consult your compliance. A cost that can save you thousands of dollars by doing the right thing and obeying federal regulations. Saving the cost can keep your business alive.
Changing the web to be More Accessible
More than 600,000 businesses are started each year in the US. Considering that Millennials were born during the surge of the internet, their reliance on the web will not go away any time soon. As they grow into an age of reliance, the web will need to adjust to their needs as these disabilities are not only genetic but can come due to age. One cannot change their ability to access the internet but the web can easily change how accessible it can be with a simple click.
What can we do?
In the past two years, since 2020, Shepherds Loft has been designing websites that are more accessible. We have a tool that helps us with colors, sizes, formatting, and readability.
While we have made an effort to provide better designs. the last step is really up to you. Do you want an accessibility statement on your website? Some services above are pretty costly but there are other services available that will help us generate an accessibility statement for you.
Now, for those of you for whom we designed a website before 2020 then you are probably not as accessible as you could be. What does this really mean?
Accessibility really is about the simple things, making your website better in every way, not just for those with disabilities. Following accessibility guidelines will help your SEO and your conversion rate. Would it be fair to say everyone over 50 has a sight impairment? Here are some examples:
- make the fonts bigger
- increase the contrast between colors when they overlap
- breaking up paragraphs
- adding descriptions to images
- formating headings correctly
It takes very little time to improve your accessibility which will improve the quality of your website, resulting in more happy customers.