What is Digital Accessibility and Why Does it Matter?

Digital Accessibility

From virtual meeting tools to video streaming services, digital technology has had a dramatic effect on our lives. It enables us to work and socialize at an incredible speed. Yet, what happens to those who can’t use these technologies equally?

Digital accessibility is integral for providing opportunities to everyone regardless of individual capacity. This blog post will examine why it should matter to you.

What Is Digital Accessibility?

Digital accessibility refers to the practice of creating technology and digital content that can be easily used by everyone, including those with disabilities. Given the proliferation of digital devices today, businesses and individuals must prioritize digital accessibility as part of their strategy for success. 

Digital accessibility isn’t just the right thing to do. It’s essential for ensuring that everyone can participate fully online, regardless of their ability. Without access to digital services and products, those living with disabilities often face serious limitations in accessing information, products, and services that are available online. 

What Barriers Exist to Digital Accessibility?

Accessibility is a fundamental right that must be assured to everyone living in today’s digital age, yet significant barriers still persist that prevent access. One of the primary obstacles lies in the incompatibility of digital platforms and tools with people living with disabilities, making them inaccessible to some individuals with physical limitations. 

Web design that doesn’t adhere to accessibility standards presents another obstacle, rendering its content unavailable for certain groups of people. Costly tools supporting assistive technology or modification tools make it more challenging for some people to access digital content. 

The Benefits of Digital Accessibility

Digital technology has brought many benefits to the world, yet some people may be unable to fully take advantage of these advances. Digital accessibility works to remove barriers for individuals with disabilities so that everyone has equal access to the digital realm. 

Digital accessibility offers far-reaching advantages that reach far beyond just those who require assistance, or only people from specific groups. Everyone stands to gain from accessible design. Websites and platforms become easier for all users, decreasing user frustration while increasing engagement. 

How to Implement Digital Accessibility

Digital accessibility is an integral aspect of any organization’s online presence. Making sure that your website, mobile applications, and other digital resources are accessible to individuals with disabilities not only creates an inclusive experience but also complies with legal compliance standards. 

Implementing digital accessibility may seem complex, but with proper strategies in place, it can be accomplished effectively. Consider conducting an accessibility audit, creating an accessibility policy, training your team on best practices for digital accessibility, and regularly testing and updating digital resources to foster a more inclusive digital experience for those accessing your organization. 

Tech to Help Get You Started

There are various tools and resources available to organizations and individuals looking to implement digital accessibility measures. Tools such as WAVE or Axe can automatically scan websites for accessibility errors and provide recommendations for improvement, providing organizations and individuals a jump-start into digital accessibility efforts.

Screen-reading software like JAWS or NVDA can also be helpful when testing the accessibility of your content, while website accessibility widgets can easily be implemented into websites to make sure they contain accessibility features. 

Reading reviews for these products will ensure that you find the ideal solution for your needs. Through reading these reviews, you’ll also gain a better idea of how these tools have assisted others with their accessibility efforts and you can learn from their experiences.

With the appropriate tools and resources at their disposal, digital accessibility can be achieved by anyone seeking a more inclusive online experience.

Article and permission to publish her provided by Carol Trehearn. Originally written for Supply Chain Game Changer and published on October 23, 2023.

Cover image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay