Did you know that over one billion people or 15% of the world population experience some form of disability or impairment? [Data source – WHO] Today is Global Accessibility Awareness Day. Accessibility may mean something different for each one of us. The ideal world would be one where everything is accessible equally to all.
Global Accessibility Awareness Day tries to increase awareness on the need to make the digital world accessible to all. Do you know how easy it is to understand accessibility?
If you have a visual impairment, that touching Facebook video or beautiful Instagram photo may not be accessible to you. If you have a hearing disability, that interesting discussion you wanted to watch on YouTube may not be accessible to you. Or if you have a cognitive disorder, too many cluttered elements on a web page may cause you extreme distraction. Did you know that if the color contrast is insufficient, the content may not be accessible to older people with age-related low vision or color blindness? A tech savvy person with multiple disabilities has to find a way around many of these and more.
While over 57% of the world population uses the internet[Data source – Datareportal], only around 10% of websites are accessible to all of us[Data source – AbilityNet]. In that, only a meager 2% of homepages are entirely accessible[Data source – Webaim]!
Fun fact: Many of the technological developments that we take for granted today were first devised to suit a disability! Read on to find out.
1. The SMS or short messaging service was designed as a means of communication for people with hearing and speech impairment. Today, instant messaging has become the most common medium of communication!
2. The pinch-in-pinch-out technology to change zoom levels was first developed to aid those with low vision. Today all of us use this magnification method on a daily basis!
3. About 39% of internet users across devices use voice search and voice commands[GlobalWebIndex]. Many voice assistant apps were initially designed for people with mobility and motor impairments to control their devices.
4. Closed captioning began to be used widely for the benefit of people with hearing difficulties. Research indicates that 69% consumers view videos without audio and over 80% are likely to watch the entire video if captioning is available[Data source – Verizon].
Life would be very different, almost difficult, for everyone if we had to go back to a time without these facilities! When it comes to incorporating accessibility features while designing either a physical space or website, it benefits a bigger category of people than initially aimed for!
We hope that accessibility of every kind becomes a norm for the world and each of us are aware of the need for it.
Happy Global Accessibility Awareness Day to all!