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50 Digital Accessibility Facts for Global Accessibility Awareness Day (GAAD)

May 16, 2019

May 16, 2019 marks the eighth Global Accessibility Awareness Day (GAAD). To help spread awareness of the importance of accessible digital and web experiences for all, we're highlighting 50 facts.

  1. In the United States, an estimated 25% of adults (61 million people), and 40% age 65 or older, have a disability.
  2. Digital accessibility does not only benefit people who are blind — it includes guidelines for people with other vision, hearing, mobility, and cognitive disabilities.
  3. Prioritizing accessibility usually improves usability for all, with or without a disability.
  4. Accessible websites are often impactful, creative, and beautiful.
  5. Automated accessibility testing is not enough — even the best automated tests can only catch about 25% of accessibility issues.
  6. Accessible code is often cleaner code, so an investment in accessibility is an investment in more reliable and faster technology.
  7. Accessibility requires monitoring and maintenance — it isn’t a one-time fix.
  8. Many people who are blind or have visual disabilities use screen readers to read and navigate the web.
  9. Popular smartphones come with robust screen readers built in — Apple features VoiceOver and Android features TalkBack.
  10. Voice assistants, like Siri, are common in mainstream devices but are also essential for some people with disabilities.
  11. Braille is also important for digital accessibility — people who can read Braille may use a refreshable Braille display to read and navigate the web.
  12. Color contrast refers to how well one color stands out from another — meeting certain minimum ratios helps determine whether most people will be able to read the information.
  13. Adjusting the contrast of text and content helps some people see the information — most desktop and mobile devices have high-contrast settings that can be turned on and off.
  14. Color shouldn’t be the only visual means of conveying information because not everyone will detect color (or detect color in the same way).
  15. An estimated 8% of males have deficiencies in color perception.
  16. Video calling provides a great option for people who can’t or prefer not to communicate by voice, sound, or written language.
  17. Accessibility improves SEO.
  18. The Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) say content must be Perceivable, Operable, Understandable, and Robust (POUR).
  19. Perceivable means content and elements must be able to be perceived, so it can’t depend on one sense, such as sight or hearing.
  20. Operable means all interface components and navigation must be able to be reached and operable — and not just with a mouse.
  21. Understandable means content needs to be understandable both by the users and any assistive technologies they might use.
  22. Robust means content must work with a wide range of user agents, including assistive technologies.
  23. WCAG turned 20 years old in 2019.
  24. WCAG 2.1 is the latest version, released in 2018.
  25. Non-text content, like images, need an accessible text alternative that provides the information depicted in the graphic.
  26. Images of text should usually be avoided except when necessary (like a company’s logo) — real text is naturally more accessible.
  27. Font style is an important consideration for accessibility.
  28. Typically, basic, simple, and unadorned fonts increase the likelihood the user can easily read it and their computer can display it.
  29. Keyboard accessibility is critical — everything that can be reached and operated with a mouse needs to be able to be reached and operated using only a keyboard.
  30. There must be keyboard focus indication on active elements as they receive focus so keyboard users always know where they are on a page.
  31. Navigation should be predictable and consistent.
  32. Simple designs and navigation structures often create the most successful sites — Google is the world’s most popular website and its home page is a search bar and a button.
  33. Accessibility is an investment in your brand — people increasingly choose and support brands that align with their values and do what’s right.
  34. Anything that’s digital and available to the public, even PDF documents, needs to be accessible.
  35. Hashtags can be more accessible by capitalizing the first letter of each word. Example: #DigitalAccessibility.
  36. Captions and transcripts for videos are both important but they have different purposes.
  37. Captions are text alternatives of the audio content and should be synchronized with the video.
  38. Transcripts are text alternatives of the audio as well as relevant on-screen information — think of transcripts as text versions of your video.
  39. Captions can be open or closed — closed captions can be turned on and off, and open captions are always visible.
  40. 85% of Facebook videos are watched without sound.
  41. Including a text transcript makes your video more available to search engines.
  42. Transcripts can be helpful to everyone at different times — like when people can’t or don’t want to watch the video, but still want the information.
  43. Breaking up long paragraphs of text with headings, images, or other breaks can make content easier for people to read and understand.
  44. Animations and blinking or flashing content can be distracting or dangerous.
  45. Some people may need more time to read click, type, or complete tasks, so unnecessary time limits should be avoided or be able to be extended.
  46. Voice shouldn’t be the only interaction or control method, as people who can’t or choose not to speak would be prevented from using a website or app.
  47. Voice-based communication, like phone calls, shouldn’t be the only way to contact an organization.
  48. The number of web accessibility lawsuits nearly tripled in 2018 from 2017.
  49. There are free website accessibility scans and tests available to help get started understanding the accessibility issues a site may have.
  50. The best way to achieve accessibility compliance is to combine human and automated testing, fix the issues, and actively monitor and make necessary updates on an ongoing basis.

If you found this information helpful, please share with someone who may also find it helpful. The time for accessibility is now.

As always, you can:

Use our free Website Accessibility Checker to scan your site for ADA and WCAG compliance.

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