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Digital accessibility refers to providing equal access to individuals with disabilities or different abilities so that they can consume digital technology. Accessibility remediation is the process that brings all the digital assets such as documents, websites, and applications into compliance with the presently recognized standards of accessibility. The goal is to provide a better user experience for people with vision or other impairment. Accessibility standards are typically based on web content accessibility.

Making Digital Content Completely Accessible – the Basics

Just as we provide audio signals or Braille signage, wheelchair ramps, grab bars, and other facilities that enable people with different abilities to make use of the business premises and organizations, we need to ensure that today’s modern digital platforms are built accessibly to empower potential visitors and users who have any disabilities.
Individuals with disabilities are enabled to independently browse, use, navigate, smoothly interact with, and consume digital content through digital accessibility. Commonly, several organizations do not consider accessibility when creating their website or application. This necessitates remediation which is often found to be a valid and effective solution for achieving compliance with recognized and mandatory standards.

What is Accessibility Remediation all About?

The first step in accessibility remediation is an accessibility audit. It is the process of testing and evaluating any document, application, or website against certain standards such as WCAG2.0, WCAG 2.1, Section 508, or any other such standards.

Further to the audit, a roadmap needs to be developed on how to proceed, what issues related to accessibility have to be fixed, the priorities, and the ways to be followed. Depending on the volume of documents and the timeframe, organizations may either decide to perform the remediation process in-house or they may choose to partner with external accessibility service providers.

Different Types of Digital Assets That Need to be Remediated

Digital documents have become the order of the day. With information flowing through various channels, it has become necessary to make several types of digital documents accessible. The following are a few of the important digital assets that have to be made accessible:

  • Microsoft Office application files and documents
  • PDFs
  • Forms
  • Image files and graphical documents
  • Media files

Benefits of Accessibility Remediation of Digital Documents

In addition to the obvious purpose of accessibility remediation—helping people with disabilities to consume content fully—there are certain other advantages as well, making it all the more important.

  1. Legal complaints and discrimination can be avoided
  2. Making digital documents accessible to people with different abilities helps reach a wider audience
  3. Usability and SEO ranking can be significantly increased
  4. Websites created with due consideration for accessibility tend to have a higher-quality code base
  5. Making a website accessible helps a business to build a positive brand image
    Wrap-up

In my opinion, by remediating the documents, websites, and applications of a business to be usable and accessible by individuals with different abilities, it becomes possible to make the information and products available to a greater number of people. Compliant documents and websites provide for better usability and clearer navigation offering users much-needed options for consuming online content. Achieving full accessibility fosters a more inclusive experience for users while lowering the risk of liability or litigation.

Author: Ian Smith, Director – Accessibility Products Development & Technology
codemantra US LLC

One Reply to “What is accessibility and why is it important?”

  1. Mia Evans says:

    I like that you pointed out how using Braille tactile signs, wheelchair ramps, grab bars, and others made a business establishment easier to access for people with disabilities. I think we need more of that, so they can actually enjoy and access most of what we usually experience in our daily lives. It would be nice to see them enjoying their day at the mall and actually understanding the things around them eaiser.

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