What is Digital Accessibility and Why is it Important?

By Amanda Mace, Vice President, Australasia | GrackleDocs

In short, it’s about designing and developing digital content in a way that it can be accessed and used by everyone, regardless of their abilities. This includes using features such as alternative text for images, captions, and transcripts for videos, and ensuring that digital content can be navigated using a keyboard and is compatible with assistive technologies such as screen readers and speech recognition software.

When something is accessible it ensures that everyone can access and use your digital content. It is a way to promote inclusion and diversity and to ensure that no one is excluded in our increasingly digitally reliant environment. It is    also a legal requirement in Australia.
See Australian Human Rights Commission Advisory notes on digital accessibility.

We know from the most recent census that nearly 20% of the Australian population registered as having a disability that affects their education, employment, or mobility. What about those with multiple less-disabling situations such as diminished eyesight or barriers not labelled as disabilities such as ‘dyslexia’ or colour-blindness? What about seniors or people with English as a second language or a combination of any of these?

Designing for people with permanent disabilities actually results in designs that benefit people universally. A few years ago, Microsoft coined the phrase, “Solve for one, extend to many.” Meaning if we find a solution for a person with one arm, you’ve also found a solution for a person with a broken arm or a parent holding a baby.

Awareness is the first step in the accessibility journey. Unfortunately, you will not wake up tomorrow to perfectly accessible digital environments, but you can find quick easy wins to make an immediate impact.

Please contact me if you’d like to get a free copy of my Top 5 checks for website accessibility at amace@abledocs.com

If nothing else, when you go into your next meeting, ask yourself and others “Is it accessible?”

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