Often when we think of accessibility, we think of a world that is mindful to the needs of others and one that creates an even playing field for everyone. Accessibility requirements in the physical world are so ingrained in our everyday lives that as we go about our business, we hardly even recognize that they are there. Rules and requirements are in place to accommodate and be mindful of such needs. In the digital world, accessibility requirements are becoming a central part of the design process. This is not only excluded to website but digital products of any kind. The web has given billions of people a level of access to information, entertainment, goods and services, and human connection that previous generations could hardly imagine.
But not everyone can make use of the web equally. People with visual or physical impairments depend on technological aids to complete online tasks and those aids succeed only insofar as web developers use or support them. Tricky page layouts can confuse screen readers, and someone using these tools can even have trouble making sense of content on the page. There is so much that can go into the design process when considering all the potential accessibility needs. Due to the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) being applied to websites, this has become an increasingly important issue for website owners.
Web accessibility requires a shift in how everyone perceives the world around us. For designers, developers, and online business it is the ability to stop seeing barriers and start looking for new ways to open doors. Originally, we were not expected to design for everyone but there is more of a need than ever to make sure your site or product can function on multiple levels and for some this can be an unexpected roadblock. However, if you’re curious and creative, there are endless opportunities for developers to make the web work for all people. User experience and accessibility experiences are human experience design opportunities.
Some web accessibility providers can bring a site up to standards pretty quickly. Many start with installing a short portion of code or plugin to support web accessibility needs throughout the site. Others use this an opportunity to configure a site that works on more than one basic level. Either way accessibility should be top of mind when building a digital experience. What it comes down to is being mindful of accessibility needs while not isolating or forgetting about the vas majority of users who will be using your site. This later becomes a balancing act of wanting your site to be ADA compliant and retaining an experience that can appeal to everyone.
In general, keeping your website, mobile app and business ADA-compliant offers many benefits as it saves you and your business money, time and allows you to reach a wider audience. A recent study by Forbes estimates “more than 1 billion people — 15% of the world’s population — have disabilities. That’s 25% ofAmerican adults, or 61 million people, who spend over $200 billion annually.Globally, an estimate of the disability market is nearly $7 trillion.” This means if provided the right resources, a large population of the world is ready to give you their business. Ultimately proving that the new age of digital accessibility can be a win-win for everyone.