Let's Talk Digital Accessibility on GAAD 2019 Let's Talk Digital Accessibility on GAAD 2019

Let's Talk Digital Accessibility on GAAD 2019

Posted on: by Toni Rayner. Operations & Marketing

Today is the perfect day to talk about digital accessibility and inclusion.

Why? Because it’s Global Accessibility Awareness Day (GAAD) 2019 and digital accessibility is an area that still gets massively overlooked throughout society.

But GAAD is a sign that things are slowly changing for the better, as more people become aware about digital accessibility and inclusion and the subject moves its way up the political agenda.

The purpose of GAAD is to get everyone talking, thinking and learning about digital (web, software, mobile, etc.) access/inclusion and people with different disabilities.

So it’s worth looking at some of the facts around disability in the UK.

  • One in five people in the UK have a disability
  • 19% of working age adults in the UK are disabled
  • 45% of pension age adults in the UK are disabled
  • 10-15% of people in the UK have dyslexia
  • 2 million people in the UK have sight loss
  • 11 million people in the UK have hearing loss  

The evidence shows that people with disabilities often face digital barriers (e.g. inaccessible websites and apps) that prevent them from accessing information, products and services, and spending their money.

For example, WebAIM’s recent web accessibility testing of the home pages of one million websites found that 85.3% (852,868) of websites studied didn’t meet Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG 2.1) AA Level because of low contrast text.

Whilst 68% (679,964) had missing alternative text for images (aka alt text tags), which are essential for people with low vision/no vision who use screen readers.

Overall, the study shows that many of the roughly 13 million people in the UK who have a disability won’t be able to easily access the websites analysed, if at all.

And The Click-Away Pound survey shows that people with disabilities often face digital barriers (e.g. inaccessible websites and apps) that prevent them from spending their money online.

For example, in 2016 the survey suggested that more than four million people in the UK abandoned a retail website because of the barriers they found, taking their money elsewhere.

Yet the spending power of disabled people and their families in the UK is £249 billion (Source: DWP Family Resources Survey 2014/15).

This shows the level of digital exclusion that people with disabilities face, and digital exclusion amplifies social exclusion.

Quite simply, it’s prevents many people with disabilities from taking part in life and doing normal activities online like shopping or paying bills that many of us take for granted.

And so many organisations (e.g the UK Government and its departments, like HMRC) are now growing a ‘digital first’ culture that makes accessing their goods and services inseparable from, and dependent on, digital connectivity and accessibility.

So it’s crucial that all websites and digital and social media content and platforms are now accessible and inclusive, in order to make a fairer society, with equal opportunities for people with disabilities.

Making all digital content and services accessible and inclusive will also help all organisations to comply with the requirements of The Equality Act 2010 and The Public Sector Bodies (Websites and Mobile Applications) (No.2) Accessibility Regulations 2018.

Many people still don’t understand much about digital accessibility and inclusion, so we hope this blog helps to create more awareness as we celebrate GAAD 2019.

100’s of organisations already use Recite Me to help make their websites accessible for people who have disabilities – call 0191 4328092 to find out more or book your free demo now.

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