While Digital Accessibility is an on-going requirement, it has become even more crucial in these times. As you all know, we are in quite a crucial time with respect to our personal health and economy because of the pandemic COVID-19. To fight against this pandemic, we are maintaining social distancing and self-quarantining. Of course, while we understand that we are not supposed to step out of our home to buy the essential needs. We need to think about disabled people who are in special need of some assistance even when it comes to shopping in brick and mortar shopping. The current situation has largely made them consider online shopping as an easy way to fulfill their basic needs.
Need of Digital Accessibility
Even though we are adopting digital transformation, there is still a lot of scope for digital accessibility to be adopted. Incorporating digital accessibility allows disabled users to access and navigate the internet without any barriers using assistive technologies such as Jaws and NVDA.
Digital accessibility is making your websites, mobile applications and electronic documents accessible and understandable to the users with visual, auditory, cognitive and physical disabilities. To understand why it is so crucial, here are some statistics for the same.
Almost 37.5% of the global population have some form of disabilities. According to the CDC, 61 million people in the US live with disabilities which are 26% of US populations. 26% includes elderly people with disabilities due to the aging process.
The disabled people not only go online for shopping, but they also try to access information about health problems, medications, online banking, as well as many different details about COVID -19 .
Why is accessibility the need of the hour?
According to the US Department of Commerce, consumers spent $601.75 billion online with US merchants during 2019. This number will be even higher this year because of this COVID 19.
At the moment, schools and colleges are shut down, because of which the online classes are opened for students. What happens if online classes are not accessible for disabled students? The courses and learning materials have no proper captioning for their media content and proper transcripts for audio files. Schools and University websites should be made accessible to students from different user groups.
What are the major setbacks for the disabled due to COVID-19?
Disabled users previously who would go for regular physical doctor visits would need to shift to the virtual meetings with their doctors for consultation and medication. Health care websites which include hospitals, insurance, and pharmacies are not easily accessible to them then it will be a setback.
The anxiety, changes in routine and loneliness will be more among the disabled users now when compared to the normal time. The parents of disabled kids look for online activities which help them to reduce the anxiety a lot now among the autism affected kids. Now a lot of learning platforms, entertainment websites, fun activities applications announced a lot of offers since everyone stays at home. But the real fact is most of the websites are lagging behind in the barrier-free website accessibility for everyone who accesses the website.
What industries need digital accessibility the most?
A study by WebAIM on millions of websites’ home pages globally and some over 100,000 additional interior site pages point out 98.1% of home pages had detectable accessibility failures based on WCAG 2 guidelines.
The most affected domains because of this pandemic of not being an accessible platform are retail, healthcare, and education. This is not to say that other industries do not require it.
We suggest that this is a good time to look at your website accessibility glitches to support the disabled user base who depend on the online platform during this lockdown period for their basic needs and in other hand you will get the following benefits which will continue even after this pandemic ends.
- Expand user demography of your website being social responsible
- Improved brand reputation
- Improves your SEO ranking. Google search engine is one of the blind users who visits your website.
- Avoid legal threats.
- User-friendly websites with inclusive design
Refer here to know more about the ADA accessibility lawsuits pattern.
How can you achieve this?
The process of attaining digital accessibility is fairly easy. As we are all in a lockdown, getting your website updated can actually become one of your priorities. Here is the process you can follow for the same:
- Audit your website based on WCAG 2.1 guidelines.
- Make sure your website images have accurate and descriptive alt text
- Ensure color contrast in your website as per the standard
- Check for captions and transcripts in audio/video files
- Check for keyboard-only navigation in your website
- Consistent and clear website layout
How can we help you with this?
Being an ADA compliant website and having an inclusive design approach in your application means a lot. The implementation seems to be critical but this is achievable. In case you find Accessibility check and ADA compliance difficult, then we are here to help you. Our accessibility professionals will audit your website and point out the area of improvement to be ADA compliant and help you become a social responsible business owner.