Annually, on the third Thursday of May is Global Accessibility Awareness Day (GAAD), an awareness day with the mission of getting everyone talking, learning, and implementing digital access and inclusion for the more than one billion people with disabilities throughout the world.
Digital Accessibility Today
Close to 20% of the United States’ population lives with a disability. This is an untapped market that is often overlooked in the development process. The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and the precedent set by federal courts and the Department of Justice (DOJ) protects the rights of the disability community both in-person and online.
On July 26th, 1990, George H. W. Bush signed the American with Disabilities Act (ADA) with the intent of creating an equal opportunity for people with disabilities by protecting their rights and preventing discrimination. The Department of Justice (DOJ) has since declared that Title II & III of the ADA covers websites. The DOJ’s ruling has been furthered by the suit against Domino’s where the 9th circuit court determined that websites must be accessible to all customers. And, the total number of website accessibility lawsuits have tripled in the past year, resulting in 2250 suits in 2018.
Websites and apps are the face of most services today. Despite this, people with disabilities continue to not have the same access as the general population. According to a recently completed study by WebAim, 98.1% of the one million homepages analyzed were not in compliance with WCAG 2.0 due to at least one (1) error. Furthermore, on average, homepages had 60.9 errors. Across all web pages, the most common errors were missing alternative text for images and low color contrasted text.
An Inaccessible Internet
Many people with disabilities utilize assistive technologies (AT) to navigate web pages and apps. However, when web pages and apps are not compatible with AT, such as screen readers and keyboard navigation, the AT that people utilize to provide independence, is rendered useless.
This could mean that an individual could not complete their order because the color contrast was poor or the screen reader did not announce the button needed to complete the task. The lack of access to navigate the internet can be very disheartening to people with disabilities.
Why not provide equal access to the disability community and gain their dollar in return. getting involved in GAAD is a great place to start! Check out our blog post on how to get involved in GAAD!