Why Do You Need to Adapt?
Digital Accessibility in COVID-19
Digital accessibility refers to equal and equitable access to public online information, products, and services for all people without distinction, ensuring everyone’s participation in the digital economy.
As we recover from the COVID-19, more and more people rely on digital services for everyday activities, including shopping, remote working, online education, healthcare, and banking. This evolution has emphasized digital accessibility, making it necessary, even for people challenged with disabilities. Here are some compelling reasons to understand why digital accessibility matters.
Why Does Digital Accessibility Matter?
“The power of the Web is in its universality. Access by everyone regardless of disability is an essential aspect.”
-Tim Berners-Lee, inventor of the World Wide Web.
The digital accessibility and experience should be inclusive for all the users. According to the World Health Organization, over a billion people live with some form of disability – that’s 15% of the world’s population.1
More than half (54%) of these people tend to go online, especially amid the COVID-19 pandemic.2
These statistics are sufficient to infer that people with disabilities are now equally reliant on digital products and services. Hence accessibility has become a top-notch requirement in any digital project. Assistive technologies such as screen readers, magnifiers, captioning, transcription, subtitles, wearable devices ensure an inclusive user experience and free content to a broader audience.
5 Tips to ensure Digital Accessibility?
1. Familiarize with laws and guidelines
Here are a few policies and standards that lay the structure for accessible ICT in our current digital landscape.
Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (Rehab Act)
Amended in 1998, the Rehab Act requires “federal agencies to make their electronic and information technology (EIT) accessible to people with disabilities.” This legislation includes any federal contractors or programs that receive funds from the federal government.3
Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0
The guidelines include a long list of internationally recognized considerations regarding making the internet more accessible for all users. Developed by the Web Accessibility Initiative (WAI) of the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C.), WCAG 2.0 guidelines state that web accessibility is centered on four standard principles — perceivable, operable, understandable, and robust.4
Different countries have varying standards and laws to govern equal access for all. Thus, it’s essential to know the basic guidelines before you jump into designing your product.
2. Create a culture of accessibility
Accessibility is not the responsibility of a single person but the whole team. From content design to engineering and implementation, accessibility requires constant attention to engrain it in a project.
This process ensures that every team prioritizes accessibility as they build and test their products, giving a sense that accessibility is a part of their role. Creating a culture of accessibility helps the organization to make inclusive design an integral part of planning, development, and long term goals.
3. Organize language, text, and images
The materials should be tagged to allow users to navigate content in logical reading order. For example, proper tagging of headlines, structuring paragraphs, formatting lists and columns, and identifying the primary language. The alternative text should be included to describe all visual elements on a page, such as images, infographics, and links, to help users grasp the content’s whole meaning.
4. Consider accessibility in every stage of the project.
Businesses shouldn’t address accessibility separately from the rest of the project’s creative process. It’s inefficient first to build a website and then make it responsive over various platforms. Moreover, it takes more time and effort to fix accessibility issues in existing sites, than creating a fully accessible site right from the start. Incorporating accessibility from the beginning optimizes the result and minimizes the resources needed.
5. Include accessibility checks
After developing the product, accessibility checks are essential to provide the best customer experience to the users. Include a broad audience in research and development that represent, as closely as possible, the diversity of your potential customers – even the people with disability. It focuses not only on verifying usability but also on making sure that the application can be used by any person irrespective of disabilities.
How can Red Sky Blue Water help?
We believe that creating inclusive and accessible websites is a societal responsibility. The pandemic has made it more crucial than ever before. With our digital accessibility experience, Red Sky Blue Water helps companies create accessible products and services for their userbase. If you are looking to develop or improve your digital accessibility, we are ready to help.