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Digital accessibility refers to the practice of making digital content and technology usable by people with disabilities. However, there are many myths and misconceptions surrounding digital accessibility that can lead to confusion and misunderstandings.

In this blog, we will discuss five digital accessibility myths and its significance.

Significance of Digital Accessibility

The integrated disposable income for working-age Americans with disabilities is nearly $500 billion. They represent a sizeable chunk of the market and the target of organizations looking to cater to their online needs.

A well-designed and accessible website is key for capturing the market opportunity and enhancing the level of customer loyalty. Moreover, digital accessibility plays a crucial role in protecting your business from any negative feedback.

Types of Disability-Related Barriers

Some of disabilities that impact how an individual interacts with a website include:

  • Auditory: Hearing loss from moderate to full deafness in both ears.
  • Learning, cognitive, and neurological: Memory loss, difficulty retaining information, autism, etc.
  • Physical disabilities: Involves missing limbs, arthritis, tremors, that interferes with browsing.
  • Speech: Speech complexities like mutism, aphasia, and stuttering make it complicated to navigate websites needing voice interaction.
  • Visual: Color blindness, low vision, and deaf-blindness.

How to Design for Digital Accessibility

There are different guidelines, practices, and standards available for making an accessible website.

The Web Content Accessibility Guidelines incorporates the three levels of success criteria. Level A, AA, and AAA, with level A considered to be the minimum eligibility to pass an accessible website.

Some of the most common and appropriate ways to make your site more accessible are listed below :

  • Make use of clear and concise language to avoid confusion.
  • Optimize the website for simple navigation using lists, links, and headings.
  • Incorporate alternative text for images to help people with disabilities.
  • Make use of color contrast in an effective way to make sure that text is visible against the background.
  • Make sure that users can use your website without a keyboard or mouse.
  • Make use of transcripts and captions for audio and video content.

Five digital accessibility myths busted

Myth One: Accessibility Considerations Only Benefit a Small Minority

15 per cent of the global population or 1 billion people live with some form of disability. This makes it impossible to make use of the digital products available in the market.

Most people do not identify as having a disability, but benefit from accessible websites.

  • Elderly and those losing their hearing, mobility, vision, or cognitive ability 
  • People with situational disabilities who are restricted in their ability to view, hear, or concentrate.
  • People with temporary disabilities like a broken arm or concussion.

There is a need to understand that inclusion and accessibility go hand-in-hand with usability. An effective website design benefits all users, particularly people with disabilities.

Myth Two: Accessibility can be addressed during project completion

Digital accessibility can be hard to implement at the end of a project. It needs to be incorporated at the start and throughout the project lifecycle. If you address accessibility issues at the end of a project, you could face:

  • Layering accessibility will result in a bad design outcome.
  • Delays in launching the project.
  • Gives time to remediate more proactively.

Factoring accessibility from the start requires additional planning. However, it helps to save time and effort in the long run.

Myth 3: Making a website accessible is costly and time-consuming

The truth is web accessibility is cost-effective and time-saving. But many organizations hesitate to dip their toes into it fearing budget constraints and timelines.

Myth Four: Accessibility is Ugly

A common myth is accessibility spoils the user experience. However, the truth is most accessibility features are invisible, such as:

  • Alt text for images help screen reader users to understand an image.
  • Semantic tags help to make a page meaningful.
  • Form labels offer context to fill out the form field.
  • Accessible Rich Internet Application attributes make interactive components accessible to screen readers.
  • Keyboard accessibility helps ensure the user can control the user interface components without using a mouse.

A lot of accessibility standards and guidelines can be covered with minor changes to your design. When accessibility features are incorporated early on, the user experience improves.

Myth 5: Digital accessibility applies only to websites

Federal laws around web accessibility is stringent in the U.S. The latest compliance laws in other countries like the EU, UK, Australia incorporate the WCAG guidelines.

Depending on the location and business you are in, you have to comply with the law of the land.

Fact: Digital accessibility is smart business

While accessibility is definitely the right thing to do, catering to more than a billion people with disabilities makes sound business sense.

For most businesses, perhaps the most convincing and valid arguments are those concerned with the bottom line. If you don’t take accessibility carefully, individuals having disabilities will essentially be restricted from participating in your business. Do not be fooled by these myths and invest in making your website accessible today.

Conclusion

In conclusion, understanding the myths and misconceptions about digital accessibility is important for creating inclusive digital content and technology that is usable for all users, regardless of their abilities.

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