Website accessibility is the practice of making your website usable by the widest possible group of people, regardless of their ability. As we deepen our dependency on online interactions, all individuals of every ability deserve the right to a barrier-free interaction. Now the question is how to achieve this and is it important?
Let’s start by getting over these myths first
MYTH 1- Only a small percentage of the global population has a disability
FACT- Disabilities may present no obvious physical signs to the untrained eye, and of course, many disabilities make it difficult for people to take part in the same activities as people without disabilities. The net result? Many people are simply unaware that a large number of their fellow citizens are living with a disability. The numbers may surprise you as well.
MYTH 2- Making a website accessible is costly and time-consuming
FACT- A compliant and more accessible website does not have to take a significant amount of time or cost a lot of money. Our research suggests that around two-thirds of accessibility issues can be uncovered and resolved using automated technology, which massively accelerates and reduces the costs of remediation. Signing up with a provider of digital accessibility services can protect your website from the first day of installation, with artificial intelligence (AI) technology.
MYTH 3- Using automated tools on my site is all you need to do to make it accessible
FACT- More than half think AI, or automation alone equates to a site that is fully functional for all users. Artificial intelligence is sophisticated and getting better but automation on its own will never identify and fix every accessibility error. The limited scope will leave many compliance issues unresolved and your company at risk. A hybrid approach that combines technology and people is a great way to achieve and maintain an accessible online experience.
MYTH 4- Digital accessibility is only needed for those who are blind or who have low vision
FACT- Most believe that visual impairment is the most prominent disability but, mobility problems and cognitive issues impact a higher percentage of the population. This means website accessibility is essential for those who are not able to move their hands or arms and require a switch device, as well as those who have dyslexia and need the option to switch to a more legible font to easily read your online information. Accessibility also impacts aging users, who experience declining vision, have difficulty hearing or struggle with motor control.
MYTH 5- Digital accessibility applies only to websites in the US
FACT- While it’s true that the US has one of the strongest legal frameworks around digital accessibility; most developed countries around the globe have enacted legislation to protect the rights of users who have a disability. The legislation is particularly well-developed and far-reaching in the European Union, Canada, Australia, the UK, and Israel.
MYTH 6- Digital accessibility applies only if you also have a brick-and-mortar store
FACT- Discrimination is prohibited in any “place of public accommodation”. Legal precedent in numerous cases has firmly established that websites are regarded as places of public accommodation, just as much as physical stores. Any business with an internet presence needs to comply with digital accessibility legislation or run the risk of costly legal action and reputational damage.
MYTH 7- Digital accessibility doesn’t apply if you have 15 or fewer employees
FACT- The reference to “place of public accommodation” makes no special exemptions for small companies. You can’t claim that your business is too small to be able to comply, nor can you plead ignorance of the law, Besides, compliance needn’t be excessively costly or time-confusing.
Web accessibility is a smart business
Don’t be fooled by myths and misconceptions, if you don’t take accessibility seriously, people with disabilities will essentially be blocked from engaging fully with your content. People deserve the right to barrier-free use of the web.