COVID-19 is creating a new, remote world. Technology ruled before the pandemic, but it will now be more important than ever as people practice social distancing. Students now complete schoolwork from home and employees work remotely providing copywriting services and other remote jobs. We currently are urged not to leave our houses, and online deliveries have increased in grocery stores, restaurants and entertainment. Now is a good time for companies to enhance the usability and accessibility of their websites.
It’s more important than ever to implement Universal Design in digital spaces. Disabled people are potentially locked out of a variety of opportunities from employment to education to consumerism when accessibility is not built into digital platforms.
Universal Design is the design and composition of an environment so that it can be accessed, understood and used to the greatest extent possible by all people regardless of their age, size, ability or disability.” Creating inclusive spaces ensures all people can access and enjoy everything from physical spaces to educational curriculums to digital spaces.
The seven principles for Universal Design are:
- Equitable use.
- Flexible use.
- Simple and intuitive use.
- Perceptible use.
- Tolerance for error.
- Low physical effort.
- Size and space for approach and use.
Touch screens, curb cuts, electric toothbrushes, motion-sensor doors and voice-activated devices are just a few Universal Design concepts we are all familiar with and benefit from. When inclusiveness is built into products and structures and environments, it provides a larger user experience. Affording this access allows disabled people to become consumers, giving your business a broader market.
About 25 percent of the U.S. population has a disability. According to Kyle Denhoff, implementing Universal Design into your marketing content potentially leads to 61 million more customers. This is an extensive reach for any business.
As the world moves to a remote access structure, Universal Design needs to be a crucial component. Disabled parents need to be able to assist with schoolwork from home and for disabled students to be able to access online resources. Disabled employees must have remote access to company systems and copywriting services. Disabled people need to have the ability to consume various digital markets. Without accessibility being a top priority, this remote structure is discriminating against disabled people. COVID-19 illustrates how necessary Universal Design is to digital and online mediums.
In the last couple of years, there’s been a surge in lawsuits against companies that have inaccessible websites and apps. UsableNet states that an ADA lawsuit was filed every working hour, equaling eight a day, 40 a week, in 2019. A large percentage of suits were brought against companies that had previously been filed against. Different plaintiffs are targeting the same inaccessible websites and apps.
With this current shift to remote access, suits in 2020 can be expected to skyrocket. However, your business can take steps to avoid legal action. The best method for ensuring accessibility and usability is to hire people who understand Universal Design. They are aware of best practices and ADA and WCAG compliance.
Outlook Business Solutions provides accessibility testing for organizations and companies. We can run diagnostics, analyzing how accessible your website and/or app is as well as copywriting services. Skilled technicians will test various aspects of your online/digital platforms and provide suggestions you can implement to ensure your content meets ADA and WCAG guidelines. Contact us to begin the journey to ensuring accessibility is standard for your company.