There are approximately 61 million disabled Americans living in the U.S. In this digital era, consumers including the disabled access a lot of what they need online. But when platforms are inaccessible to those with a vision impairment, it cuts them out of the market and prevents business for companies. It’s estimated these 61 million people contribute to a $645 billion annual disposable income that your company is potentially missing out on.
There is a growing number of lawsuits against companies failing to comply with Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG). In 2019, 40 lawsuits were filed every week, totaling 2,600 a year. In addition to working with individuals and entities who understand accessibility, such as Outlook Business Solutions, you can implement simple fixes to comply with the WCAG.
The Web Accessibility Initiative states that a site's accessibility can specifically be defined as a digital space that is “perceived, understood, and navigated by a person with any disability.” Sites should also be designed for optimal mobile usability, for slow Internet connections and for people with situational limitations in addition to a vision impairment.
According to The Center for Excellence in Universal Design, “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.”
It’s crucial to develop accessible platforms in order to broaden your market reach and to avoid locking consumers out of opportunities. Begin by learning what the top accessibility concerns are. This helps to identify problems and begin testing platforms to verify if they comply with the WCAG or if corrections need to be made. You can hire accessibility consultants, but there are steps your team can implement in-house.
Your platforms need to have Level AA conformance with the WCAG. This includes:
- HTML pages
- PDF documents and Word documents
- Audio and video
- Identify and correct inaccessible information
Creating a culture of accessibility allows for a self-sustaining implementation of accessibility. One tip is to create checklists throughout the entire design and development trip. All team members should be involved.
The top five web accessibility concerns are:
- Insufficient color contrasts
- Inadequate keyboard access and visual focus indicator
- Missing or poor alternative text on images
- Meaningless link text
- Illegible resized text
There are other accessibility concerns:
- Do videos have an audio description when necessary?
- Are transcripts available for audio content?
- Is the information from tables and charts provided in alternative formats?
- Does a platform use plain, simple language?
- Are pages cluttered?
- Are there very bright or flashing lights?
Identifying these problems diversifies digital platforms. Building accessibility into platforms from the ground up broadens your market reach, potentially leading to increased revenue, especially from those with a vision impairment.