If you have a physical disability that prevents you from accessing information online, you will most likely understand digital accessibility. However, if you don’t know what digital accessibility is or why it’s important, read on to find out what digital accessibility is and why it’s so essential to today’s modern workforce.


What is Digital Accessibility?


Digital accessibility is when technology designs products and environments to assist those with a physical disability. Without digital accessibility, some people with disabilities cannot or have difficulty using particular services or products. These folks with disabilities may also have difficulty using the functionality of a product or service. Digital accessibility for a website also assists non-disabled visitors as the accessibility features help navigate a website effectively.


The US Congress passed the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). This act mandates that public and private spaces must be accessible to individuals with sensory, cognitive, and physical impairments or limitations. As a part of this act, companies must create digital accessibility as an extension of ADA principles. Why? Because those with disabilities must be able to use assistive or adaptive technology


An easy example of assistive technology is using video closed captioning. This type of accessibility assists deaf and hard-of-hearing people read what the actors are saying. In addition, this is also an assistive technology for audiobooks that turn text to speech to assist blind or partially sighted people.


How Has the Internet Influenced Digital Accessibility?


The Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) was launched in 1999 as a set of recommendations for creating web content that is more easily accessible to people with disabilities. The WCAG includes a guide for organizations on compliance with WCAG standards.

Why is Digital Accessibility Important?


There are multiple reasons why digital accessibility should be a guiding principle to technology and website design, and other aspects of the internet.


First, failure to comply with the ADA could inflict penalties on your company. For example, suppose a website is inaccessible to those with disabilities. In that case, your business can receive monetary damages and legal fees. Your company may be required to redesign the website for digital accessibility compliance.


The United Nations estimated that more than 1 billion people worldwide live with some form of disability, equating to 15% of the world population. Creating a digitally accessible space gives you more opportunities to grow and share your information with those who could not utilize it before.

Digital Accessibility Creates an Inclusive Culture


Creating an inclusive culture benefits your company’s relations with customers and employees. Deloitte found that companies with an inclusive culture are more likely to meet or exceed financial targets and be high performing, innovative and agile. In addition, companies with an inclusive culture report favorable business outcomes more often than companies that do not have an inclusivity business model. 


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