ave you ever thought about how you’d use a computer or a mobile if you couldn’t see?
You wouldn’t know what was on the screen. You wouldn’t be able to use a mouse, because you wouldn’t know where your cursor was.
Every second Australian reports a vision impairment of some kind, from short-sightedness to colour-blindness, macular degeneration and all the way through to complete blindness.
That’s huge- and that’s just one disability that can impact a person's ability to navigate our digital world. It’s one reason why digital accessibility is so important.
What is digital accessibility?
Digital accessibility is the principle of creating digital content to be as usable as possible by as many people as possible. Everyone has a right to participate in our digital world, but for many people living with disabilities, digital content can be very difficult to use. However, with assistive technologies and a little effort, websites and software can be made vastly more usable for everyone.
Why is digital accessibility important?
Almost 1 in 5 Australians live with a disability - that’s huge! By designing digital content to be accessible, we can ensure that 20% of people aren’t locked out of the same digital experiences as everyone else.
Everyone deserves to be able to shop online, do research online, find a nearby restaurant online, do online training and participate in the same digital content - no matter their abilities.
Furthermore, many designs that improve digital accessibility improve the content for everyone. These designs are known as curb cuts - after the small ramps cut into curbs that don’t just assist people with mobility impairments, but also people with shopping trolleys and prams, or riding bikes or skateboards.
Another example of a curb cut is subtitles on a video. Subtitles are useful not just for people with hearing impairments, but also for a person watching a video in a loud environment, or in a quiet environment that they don’t want to disturb, like the office, on a train or at home when the kids are in bed.
What are some examples of digital accessibility?
There are many ways to improve the accessibility of digital products like software and websites. Many improvements are invisible for non-impaired users, but make a huge difference for users with impairments, such as coding the product to be compatible with screen reader technology, or so that users can navigate with buttons instead of a mouse.
Some other common examples of digital content that has been designed to be accessible include:
- Videos with subtitles.
- Accompanying transcripts for video and audio clips.
- A high degree of contrast between colours.
- Alt text for images.
- Easy to understand instructions.
- Consistent use of language and terminology.
Many people assume that pursuing digital accessibility means sacrificing the potential for beautiful design, but this is simply not true. Check out our favourite 4 examples of beautiful, accessible design.
How is digital accessibility measured?
The most comprehensive and internationally respected measure for digital accessibility is the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.1.
WCAG is split into three levels, Level A, Level AA, and Level AAA, each more describing a greater degree of accessibility than the level before. While much digital content is Level A compliant, few products achieve even Level AA.
How accessible is HowToo?
HowToo is proud to deliver eLearning courses that are WCAG 2.1 Level AA compliant, as a result of a considerable degree of investment and commitment. Discover how and why we made accessibility the core of HowToo.