Today, Thursday, May 20, 2021, is Global Accessibility Awareness Day. The purpose of this event, which celebrates 10 years today, is to get people talking and thinking about website accessibility, and how their own site could be improved to better provide inclusive access for all people, regardless of disabilities or impairments.
What is Website Accessibility
Simply put – the information and services on your website and other digital assets should be available all visitors, including people who need assisted devices to use the Web or those with disabilities. With so many critical experiences now moving online, the need for all people to be able to access that content with an experience that is first-rate, but not identical, to how others access it has never been more important. Unfortunately, many websites remain difficult to use at best, or even totally inaccessible at worst for many people.
The State of Accessibility Today
Website accessibility is not a new topic. At Envision, we’ve been talking about the need for digital experiences that accommodate all users and which meet Digital ADA standards for years. Website accessibility is a key component of the websites that we design and develop for our clients, and we have offered a comprehensive Digital ADA Compliance assessment for websites for years. Unfortunately, the need to have accessible websites still seems to be “new information” to far too many people. According to WebAIM based on a 2020 study they conducted:
- 98.1% of home pages had at least 1 failure when compared to the WCAG 2.0 standard (this is a standard for accessibility that many organization uses as their benchmark for an accessible and inclusive digital experience).
- The average number of errors on a homepage was a staggering 60.9!
The worst part of this data is that most of the errors in question here are easy ones to fix. The majority of companies and sites who fail due so because of ignorance – they don’t even realize they are failing! This is why a day like Global Accessibility Awareness Day is so important, to shine a light on this important topic and hopefully prompt more companies to look at their own sites to make the necessary fixes.
So what kinds of errors caused these aforementioned homepage failures?
- 86.3% of them had low contrast text, which makes it very difficult for people with certain vision impairments to read the content
- 66% has missing “alt text” on images, which is the information a screen reader would provide a blind user if they visited the site or the text that would be displayed if that image did not load for some reason
- 59.9% had empty links that simply went nowhere and which would throw off many assisted devices
- 53.8% had forms missing labels, making it nearly impossible for many people to complete that form
These are just a few examples of errors, all of which would take seconds to fix on a page and which, truth be told, would actually make for a better experience for ALL visitors!
Considering ALL Your Visitors
There are over 1 billion people worldwide with some form of disability. These include visual, hearing, motor, and cognitive impairments. Dig a bit deeper into any of these categories and you will find a variety of nuances for how different people interact with websites and digital content. The number of possible impairments is vast, but the ways to ensure access for them all are nowhere near as daunting as it seems. That aforementioned WCAG 2.0 standard is a great starting point to measure your digital experience against in order to see how your company stacks up to that standard.
Need some help? Envision’s Digital ADA Compliance assessment provides a comprehensive look at your entire site, details where it has issues and provides a roadmap forward to fix those issues and ensure accessibility for all people who want to use your site. Outside of that assessment, we are always happy to answer questions as well, as we work to do our part to make the digital world we live in more inclusive to everyone.
For more information on Envision’s services, contact us or use the button at the top of the page to schedule an appointment now. If you would like more details on Global Accessibility Awareness Day, check out their wonderful (and accessible) website at https://globalaccessibilityawa...