If you’ve heard of the WCAG, Web Content Accessibility Guidelines, you may also know the name Sir Tim Berners Lee because he invented the World Wide Web in 1989 and is the director of W3C. The World Wide Web Consortium consists of 451 members, among them, representatives from big name companies like Amazon and Bank of America. Burners said, “The power of the web is in its universality. Access by everyone regardless of disability is an essential aspect.”
The W3C is a growing and global community of participants that choose to work together by this value and operate by a regarded Code of Ethics and Professional Conduct. Members around the world work together to improve upon the content accessibility guidelines so that everyone may be able to enjoy the internet. It is important for the WCAG to be shared and held as standard practice due to our ever growing, connected digital lives.
It’s no surprise that in today’s world, we live our lives and conduct our business online. A typical user engages in the most popular mobile internet activities such as:
- Social networking
- Online searches
- Online video
- Online shopping
Mobile retail is one of the fastest-growing online categories. Considering global mobile e-commerce in 2018, the U.S. was expected to generate 669 billion dollars in revenue. Amazon leads mobile commerce sales, with revenue amounting to 27 billion U.S. dollars. However, we need to ask, what percentage of these statistics includes people living with a disability? How many people with a disability were deterred from enjoying the benefits of using these online resources?
Disability Facts and Figures
In order to investigate the spending power of people living with a disability in the U.S., we need to understand how our country defines it, as well as the importance of the rights of people with a disability. Federal civil rights laws have ensured equal opportunity for people with disabilities. The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) prohibits discrimination on the basis of disability in employment, State and local government, public accommodations, commercial facilities, transportation, and telecommunications.
Section 508 is a 1998 amendment to the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 that requires by law that all federal agencies make their electronic content accessible to everyone, including those with disabilities. 508 compliance not only encompasses the entirety of the federal government but also applies to any company, private or public, that does business with a federal agency or receives funding from them.
According to the Census Bureau, there are varying definitions of “disability” based on the context in which it is being referenced. In some contexts, disability is viewed in terms of medical conditions that need treatment or therapy, while in others, disability is viewed as the result of the interplay between impairments and environmental conditions. ‘Disability’ is defined by the ADA as a person who has a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities, a person who has a history or record of such an impairment, or a person who is perceived by others as having such an impairment.
This term encompasses impairments, activity limitation, and participation restrictions a person may experience in their daily lives like working, school, shopping or other activities.
Disability and Web Accessibility
According to the World Wide Web Consortium, web accessibility encompasses all disabilities that affect access to the web, including:
The 4 common types of impairments that affect how people use your digital product are:
When we consider the different ways in which people engage with our business’s website, we open our businesses in inclusivity. It is valuable to everyone’s experience no matter what disability they may or may not have. Here’s a quick list to check to see right now if your company’s website could be excluding those with disabilities.