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There Are Still Opportunities for Accessibility Innovation

[Approximate Reading Time : 4 mins]

Making websites accessible for everyone isn’t just a requirement of the Americans with Disabilities Act, or ADA. In fact, it should be seen as a challenge to not only rise to but surpass. Innovation springs from the need to find a new way to perform a task that can’t be achieved in the traditional way. When a rockslide blocks a trail, a new one must be forged. Testing the limits of accessibility is how we advance inclusion.

Expand the Possibilities

Web Content Accessibility Guidelines, or WCAG, outline ways to code a site for accessibility, which is a start. However, there is still an opportunity to be found when you think of new uses for the tools you already have. An example is repurposing eye-tracking software that reveals how participants use a website to allow mobility-impaired people to use a site. When you think of how convenient it is to hear the directions read out loud from GPS apps while you are driving, imagine how it can help the visually impaired navigate a website.

Plan for the Future

If you think of disabilities as something that other people have, you are wrong. We are all part of an aging population, and with aging, declines in vision, cognitive abilities and mobility are not only possible but likely. There are vast possibilities in the market for companies willing to enable the elderly to stay active, independent and connected to the world in new ways. Anything can be made accessible, but it is not enough to simply develop the products; they must also be financially practical.

Reimagine All Barriers

Accessibility doesn’t impair innovation; it enables it. After all, where do you think the saying “Necessity is the mother of invention” came from? The AbilityOne Design Challenge held each year invites high school students to tear down barriers to employment for people with disabilities by inventing new assistive technologies. Walkers adjustable with a button that allows the user to navigate stairs more easily, under-wheelchair lighting for increased visibility and earplug chains to help the motor-impaired meet job requirements to have earplugs available at all times are just a few ways these young innovators have found to remove barriers for the disabled.

To find out more about how digital accessibility and inclusivity can inspire innovation, contact Amnet today. As champions of digital equality, this team has experience in reimagining how to make digital content available to everyone, regardless of physical or cognitive limitations. Amnet is Benetech-certified as conforming to the Global Certified Accessible Consortium guidelines.

Sources:
1. https://americanlibrariesmagazine.org/blogs/the-scoop/pla-2020-opportunity-for-innovation/
2. https://blog.prototypr.io/accessibility-innovation-20912107fc4e
3. https://foreignpolicy.com/2015/12/01/the-future-of-accessibility-innovation/
4. https://www.forbes.com/sites/judyowen/2013/03/03/innovation-for-accessibility/#755579762063

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