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Fifty-six million Americans have disabilities. While it stands to reason that technology would naturally evolve to reach this large population, it may surprise you to know that the innovation driven by the need for accessibility has made its way back into the mainstream in multiple aspects. For instance, text messaging was originally meant as a method for people with hearing disabilities to communicate. In turn, as more and more published materials become primarily or solely available online, digital accessibility for everyone becomes all the more important.
The current state of and the continuing need for digital accessibility is a top concern for the industry. Legal compliance, marketing, development, and testing are all areas that significantly affect the rate of availability and the quality of digital tools that allow disabled people to interact with their world as seamlessly as the non-disabled. The importance of furthering the development of usability is evident in the fact that companies are sharing best practices instead of focusing on competitive advantage.
In 2018, there was a 177% increase in lawsuits regarding noncompliance with digital accessibility. The increase brought the total to 2,258 cases filed by Americans with a disability who were not able to access information that was readily available to non-disabled Americans. Clearly, businesses are not moving as quickly as they should in making their products universally available.
According to a recent survey by 3Gict, challenges to companies trying to make their digital assets accessible are numerous and affect every area of business. Though the themes are repeated, different ones are prioritized according to the department. For instance, in product development these are the top five issues:
- Accessibility in the development cycle
- Inability to keep up with new content
- Development time
In UX design, the difficulties of finding testers who have disabilities is the number two issue that the field faces, behind prioritizing accessibility earlier in the development lifecycle. Legal and compliance departments deal with delays from the difficulty in getting buy-in from decision-makers.
Testing accessibility requires an understanding of the problems a person with a disability will face when trying to access digital tools. Having testers who accurately reflect the audience that the developers are coding for is vital. The limited availability of disabled testers is proving difficult for many businesses.
Amnet understands the challenges that businesses face in providing disability accessible content. Take advantage of a full spectrum of “technabled” services to ensure that your digital products are fully useable, compliant and delivered with quality.