How Does It Aid in Making Digital Things More Accessible?

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Would you make website changes that would benefit more than a quarter of your visitors? It should be simple, right? According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 26% of American adults are disabled, and many of these disabilities impact how people use digital content.

Businesses can improve the user experience for people with disabilities by implementing best practices for digital accessibility. They may also receive other benefits that will benefit their bottom line.

What Exactly Is Digital Accessibility?

Simply put, digital accessibility is a feature of a website or app that allows people with disabilities to use it easily. Best practices for accessibility make it easier for people with disabilities to use digital domains in the same way that wheelchair ramps and Braille signs make it easier for some people to enter, move around, and use physical spaces.

What Is Required for Digital Accessibility?

From a legal and compliance standpoint, most discussions about accessibility revolve around Title III of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), which “prohibits disability discrimination in the operation of places of public accommodation.” This rule’s application to digital properties is still being debated. The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) does apply to websites and mobile apps that connect customers to the goods and services of places of public accommodation. A circuit court recently confirmed this.

The Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) are widely regarded as the best guidelines for making websites and apps accessible. The World Wide Web Consortium’s digital accessibility Initiative developed WCAG to create a universal standard for web content accessibility.

Visual, auditory, verbal, cognitive, neurological, and physical impairments can all make it difficult for a user to use digital resources. Here are some examples of how to apply best practices in each of these areas:

Visual

Give images alternative text and arrange headers in a logical order to assist screen readers.

Audio

Closed captioning and transcripts of audio and video content should be provided.

Speech

Provide alternate methods of contacting you besides the phone and alternate methods of entering information besides speaking.

Cognitive and neurological disorders

Make learning how to use navigation and page layouts easier.

Physical

Allow people who do not have a mouse to enter data using the keyboard.

What Are the Advantages of Digital Accessibility for Businesses?

The most obvious reason is that it is the right thing to do to make your websites and apps accessible. People with disabilities should have the same access to online services and content as everyone else. Accessibility is a socially inclusive act that removes barriers and allows all users to interact positively with your business.

Accessibility can also influence how your customers, potential customers, and employees perceive your company. People are more likely to support businesses that promise to do what is best for society. This is referred to as “corporate social responsibility.” Users, both with and without disabilities, are more likely to like your brand if they see that you’ve gone out of your way to remove barriers and make the experience enjoyable for everyone.

People From All Walks Of Life Benefit From Digital Accessibility.

Best practices for accessibility can benefit all users, not just those with permanent disabilities. When was the last time you went to the gym and walked around while watching TV with closed captioning? This is just one example of a feature designed to benefit people with disabilities while also benefiting a broader group of people. Accessibility is also beneficial for people who have temporary or unforeseen limitations.

Consider having only one arm. This could be due to a disability, a broken arm, or being responsible for a newborn baby. People with cataracts or who are simply not paying attention while driving may benefit from visual aids. Closed captioning may be the most beneficial to people who have difficulty hearing. Almost everyone can benefit from being able to read rather than just hear at some point in their lives.

There are numerous ways you may use accessibility features without even realizing it. The more we try to make everyone feel welcome, the better off everyone will be. Not to mention that people with disabilities will have equal access to media as those who do not. Everyone benefits from it.

What Is the Law Saying?

The US Department of Justice (DOJ) had not explicitly updated ADA standards to cover digital accessibility at the time this article was written. Instead, the Justice Department maintained its long-held position that the ADA covers digital accessibility.

Other laws, on the other hand, could be evaluated based on how simple they are to use online. According to Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, federal departments and agencies must make good-faith efforts to provide information in formats that people with disabilities can use. If they are unable to do so, they must provide another means for people with disabilities to access the data and information provided by those information systems. People with and without disabilities must have equal access.

In 2010, the Communications Act of 1934 was amended to incorporate the 21st Century Communications and Video Accessibility Act (CCVA). This law establishes new guidelines to ensure that people with disabilities have access to modern technologies. Title I of the Act establishes accessibility requirements for “advanced” telecommunications products and services. Title II of the law establishes accessibility requirements for televisions, television services, television content, and streaming video.

The European Union now has its own laws, thanks to Directive (EU) 2016/2102, which went into effect in 2016 and made accessibility standards uniform across the EU. A directive is a piece of EU legislation that specifies the end goal but leaves it up to the member states to determine how to get there.

Summary

Accessibility is at the heart of a global movement that is altering people’s expectations. As you read this, major corporations such as Microsoft are making advancements that place them at the forefront of their respective fields. To make its content more accessible, Facebook added new tools such as customizable font sizes and improved interaction with screen readers. Meanwhile, Twitter established an Accessibility Center of Excellence to collaborate with groups from various business areas to make the platform more accessible.

If you’re concerned that your company won’t be able to keep up in terms of accessibility, contact QualityLogic to learn how their services can help. A specialist can examine your current tools for free and advise you on how to improve your services. To learn more, go to www.qualitylogic.com.