Creating a digital world understood by everyone
The digital world is vast. We have access to more information than any other generation before. While that is great, it is easy to forget that not all of us are the same – not all of us can enjoy the content meant for everyone.
Digital accessibility is essential for promoting inclusivity and a positive user experience for all individuals, regardless of their abilities. It aligns with legal requirements, expands business opportunities, and reflects social responsibility – by embracing accessibility, you’re creating a more equitable and inclusive digital landscape that benefits everyone.
What is Digital Accessibility?
The inclusive practice of ensuring there are no barriers that prevent interaction with or access to digital content by people with physical disabilities, situational disabilities, and socio-economic restrictions on bandwidth and speed.
- Ensuring access to all individuals
- Design and development that removes barriers
- Content creation that enables everyone to use it completely
By embracing equity in digital accessibility, we can work towards creating a more inclusive and barrier-free digital environment for all users.
Diverse Abilities and Barriers
The digital world has become an integral part of our daily lives, encompassing everything from education and employment to communication and entertainment. However, not all individuals experience digital content and technologies in the same way. Various barriers can hinder access to digital resources. It is essential to explore the multifaceted aspects of diverse abilities and barriers to digital accessibility.
Visual disabilities range from mild or moderate vision loss in one or both eyes (“low vision”) to substantial and uncorrectable vision loss in both eyes (“blindness”). Some people have reduced or lack of sensitivity to certain colors (“color blindness”), or increased sensitivity to bright colors. These variations in perception of colors and brightness can be independent of the visual acuity.
Examples of barriers for people with visual disabilities:
- Images, controls, and other structural elements that do not have equivalent text alternatives.
- Video content that does not have text or audio alternatives, or an audio-description track.
- Text and images with insufficient contrast between foreground and background color combinations.
Auditory disabilities range from mild or moderate hearing loss in one or both ears (“hard of hearing”) to substantial and uncorrectable hearing loss in both ears (“deafness”). Some people with auditory disabilities can hear sounds but sometimes not sufficiently to understand all speech, especially when there is background noise. This can include people using hearing aids.
Examples of barriers for people with auditory disabilities:
- Audio content, such as videos with voices and sounds, without captions or transcripts.
- Media players that do not display captions and that do not provide volume controls.
- Media players that do not provide options to adjust the text size and colors for captions.
Cognitive, learning, and neurological
Cognitive, learning, and neurological disabilities involve neurodiversity and neurological disorders, as well as behavioral and mental health disorders that are not necessarily neurological. They may affect any part of the nervous system and impact how well people hear, move, see, speak, and understand information. Cognitive, learning, and neurological disabilities do not necessarily affect the intelligence of a person.
Examples of barriers for people with cognitive, learning, and neurological disabilities:
- Complex navigation mechanisms and page layouts that are difficult to understand and use.
- Long passages of text without images, graphs, or other illustrations to highlight the context.
- Moving, blinking, or flickering content, and background audio that cannot be turned off.
Physical disabilities (sometimes called “motor disabilities”) include weakness and limitations of muscular control (such as involuntary movements including tremors, lack of coordination, or paralysis), limitations of sensation, joint disorders (such as arthritis), pain that impedes movement, and missing limbs.
Examples of barriers for people with physical disabilities:
- Websites, web browsers, and authoring tools that do not provide full keyboard support.
- Controls, including links with images of text, that do not have equivalent text alternatives.
- Missing visual and non-visual orientation cues, page structure, and other navigational aids.
Speech disabilities include difficulty producing speech that is recognizable by others or by voice recognition software. For example, the loudness or clarity of someone’s voice might be difficult to understand.
Examples of barriers for people with physical disabilities:
- Web-based services, including web applications, that rely on interaction using voice only.
- Websites that offer phone numbers as the only way to communicate with the organizations.
Assistive Technology Examples
Assistive technology refers to a diverse range of tools, devices, and software solutions specifically designed to enhance the lives of individuals with disabilities and unlocks the full potential of human capabilities.
Software applications that convert text into synthesized speech or braille output for specialized braille keyboards.
Enlarge on-screen content, making it easier for individuals with visual impairments to read text, view images, and navigate interfaces.
Voice Recognition Software/Voice User Interface (VUI)
Enables users to control digital devices, input text, and navigate applications using voice commands.
Alternative Input Devices
Help individuals with mobility impairments interact with digital interfaces. These devices allow users to navigate, click, and input commands without relying on a traditional mouse or keyboard.
Captioning and Transcription Tools
Provide text equivalents for audio and video content, ensuring accessibility for individuals with hearing impairments or those who prefer visual text alternatives.
Text-to-Speech (TTS) Software
Converts written text into synthesized speech, enabling individuals with visual impairments or reading difficulties to listen to digital content. TTS tools can be integrated into operating systems, web browsers, or dedicated software applications.
People have diverse abilities, skills, preferences, and expectations that can impact how they use digital products. At CMG, we make it a top priority to ensure all your customers have equal access to digital content.
Make your digital products accessible to everyone.
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- Diverse Abilities and Barriers, W3C Web Accessibility Initiative (WAI), 2017 https://www.w3.org/WAI/people-use-web/abilities-barriers/