Importance of digital accessibility

17 Mar 2020

Digital accessibility technology company, AAAtraq (www.aaatraq.com), sees the reliance on the internet growing significantly, with recent events putting considerable focus into transacting online, meaning meeting digital accessibility guidelines will be more important than ever for US organisations.

Digital accessibility more important than ever

Covid-19 is having a dramatic effect now, with many more working from home and relying on the internet for connecting with loved ones, home deliveries, education, and entertainment. Such has been the impact that internet service providers are reporting demand on their networks in March increased by 30 to 60 percent.

But as the effects of the virus subside, the landscape may change forever, with demand on ISPs continuing as collaborating remotely on a professional and personal level is ‘normalised’ and the heightened reliance on online ordering remains in place.

“These trends will only serve to emphasize how digital accessibility is now more important than ever for those with visual and hearing disabilities within the US society,” said Lawrence Shaw, CEO of AAAtraq. Currently around 60 million people in the US have some form of hearing or visual disability.

Around 12 million people aged 40+ years have vision impairment, 1 million of whom are blind. Moreover, by 2050 9 million people in the US over the age of 40 are predicted to suffer from vision impairments that cannot be corrected.

Approximately 48 million Americans are thought to have some degree of hearing loss. And these numbers are likely to get progressively worse over the coming years with the 12.5 percent of children aged between 6 and 19 experiencing a degree of hearing loss due to listening to music on ear buds at unsafe volumes.

“Complying with digital accessibility regulations is currently poor with 94% of websites failing globally,” continued Shaw. “But website owners need to wake up to the new environment and be willing to recognise that not everybody who uses their websites and apps are free from disability.” Digital accessibility lawsuits are also a concern, says Shaw.

“The US has seen a spike of over 300 percent in accessibility lawsuits filed against companies of all sizes from 2013 to 2019 to around 11,000 cases each year. As more and more lawyers begin to realize accessibility lawsuits are a soft target, we’ll see the number the rising further,” Shaw concludes.

Related Links https://www.washingtonpost.com/business/energy/hows-the-internet-doing-depends-where-you-look/2020/04/08/aa406204-7999-11ea-a311-adb1344719a9_story.html https://www.cdc.gov/visionhealth/basics/ced/fastfacts.htm https://www.hearingloss.org/wp-content/uploads/HLAA_HearingLoss_Facts_Statistics.pdf?pdf=FactStats https://www.law.com/newyorklawjournal/2020/02/27/seyfarth-report-finds-2019-another-record-year-for-ada-title-iii-suits-nationally-and-in-ny/