The need for accessible websites
Per the Census Bureau’s report released in 2012, 57 million Americans (about 20% of the population) have a disability.
- 19.9 million (8.2%) have difficulty lifting or grasping. This could, for example, impact their ability to use a mouse or keyboard.
- 15.2 million (6.3%) have a cognitive, mental, or emotional impairment. These people might have difficulty maintaining focus or understanding content hierarchies.
- 8.1 million (3.3%) have a vision impairment. These people might rely on a screen magnifier or a screen reader, or might have a form of color blindness.
- 7.6 million (3.1%) have a hearing impairment. They might rely on transcripts and / or captions for audio and video media.
Benefits of an accessible website
- It’s the right thing to do: Accessibility issues cut across all demographics and affect not just people with various types of impairments, but also people with slow internet speeds, people in transit while online, and a number of other temporary situations. Any organization with a commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion should be working towards an accessible website.
- Reach more people: With about 20% of the population coping with some for of disability that can make it difficult to use a website, by making yours accessible, your content can get to a larger audience.
- Can improve SEO: Accessibility improves SEO as it requires the site to be structured very well on the backend.
- Can prevent lawsuits: The number of lawsuits filed against companies without sufficiently accessible websites is on the rise. Web accessibility is never done. But by implementing a work plan towards improving your website’s accessibility over time, you can demonstrate your commitment to making it possible for as many people as you can.