Why your business needs to start the conversation about digital accessibility today
Never have we had so much knowledge available at our fingertips. The web provides unprecedented access to information, goods and services and a virtual platform for networking and socialising with others. However, many digital platforms are developed with accessibility barriers, making them difficult and frustrating for people with disabilities and impairments to use.
Global Accessibility Day (GAAD)
Today we celebrate the tenth Global Accessibility Awareness Day (GAAD), a day of recognition that shines a light on digital access and inclusion for the one billion people with disabilities and impairments around the globe.
If you communicate with customers, you need to know about web accessibility. It is beneficial for your customers, and in turn, your organisation to remove barriers to access that may exist within your digital products and public facing platforms.
The most common disabilities and impairments that can impact a person’s ability to access digital channels are:
- Visual – consider size, spacing, colour and font of text, audio text descriptions
- Hearing – video captioning, visual indicators in place of audio cues
- Motor – button size, adaptive hardware, simple navigation, alternative online keyboard
- Cognitive – consider clutter of text and images of screen, simple language, consistent navigation
The difficulty or ease of user interaction with your organisation’s website, applications and other digital environments is a reflection upon the organisation’s awareness, inclusiveness and understanding of people with a disability.
Research conducted by WebAIM Million Report identifies the top 3 most common web-based accessibility failures:
- Low contrast text – 86.3%
- Missing image descriptions – 66%
- Empty links – 59.9%
Remove accessibility barriers and achieve inclusive technology
- Simplifying your language and online content can create easier-to-read documents, improve customer information retention, benefit your search rankings and make your digital platforms more inclusive.
- Include descriptions for images and videos otherwise known as alternative text, that will benefit those who have visual and cognitive disabilities and impairments.
- Add transcripts and captions for videos to benefit customers with disabilities as well users who cannot play loud audio, such as parents of young children, shift workers and customers who do not use headphones.
- Remove navigation obstacles that can confuse or restrict customers such as unnecessary or repetitive links, small buttons and drop-down menus and inconsistent page layouts.
To ensure your organisation is speaking with the largest potential customer base, including those users who have visual, auditory, motor or cognitive disabilities it is important to move towards achieving digital accessibility.
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