Are your web sites and applications accessible to people with disabilities?

If not you could be missing out on millions of people all over the world who would be loyal customers, employees, and social media followers.

The benefits of accessibility

Fortune magazine estimates that in the US alone people with disabilities spend a trillion dollars each year – and more than $200 billion of that is discretionary income. Increase your online outreach to this market by integrating accessible design principles into your development process and be prepared for bonus benefits.

Industry leaders learned that accessibility testing is an innovation driver for solutions to unanticipated problemsClick To Tweet

Industry leaders have also learned that baked-in accessibility is an innovation driver, enabling elegant solutions to unanticipated problems. An example of this is VoiceOver, the natural language user interface that Apple originally introduced as a way to enable blind students to use iPods in higher education settings. That innovation led to Siri, which is used by more than 90% of iPhone users.

Getting started

Once you decide to embrace accessibility, you may wonder how to start. It is often helpful to learn more about how people with various disabilities actually use your web sites and applications. Many blind users and those with other disabilities use assistive technology that renders well-designed web content in ways that they can understand and interact with.  Assistive technologies may include software such as screen readers and magnifiers as well as specialty accessibility hardware.

User studies that include people with disabilities can help you understand barriers that may be hidden to people who browse in more typical ways. When those hidden barriers are understood, accessible design principles may be applied with greater understanding and effectiveness.

The W3C is the standards maker for all of the web. Their Web Accessibility Initiative (WAI) defines web accessibility for global stakeholders including browser makers, authoring tools, content developers, and assistive technology vendors. By adhering to common standards, these interactive components can deliver a great experience to all users regardless of disability.

Want to learn more?

Join our webinar Accessibility Isn’t Enough – Designing Digital Properties to be Usable and Accessible For All on August 30th at 10am PST where we’ll discuss:

  • The various kinds of disabilities to keep in mind while designing experiences
  • The fiscal and ethical importance of designing for all
  • How companies have successfully used accessibility to improve their products
  • How to run an accessibility test in UserZoom

Register for the webinar


About the webinar speakers

Sharron Rush, Executive Director at Knowbility

sarah tannehillSharron Rush is Executive Director of Knowbility, a nonprofit training and advocacy organization based in Austin Texas. Sharron is an award-winning pioneer in the field of digital accessibility with recognition from the Peter Drucker Foundation, the Congressional Black Caucus, the FCC, the SXSW Interactive Media Conference and many others.  Her book Maximum Accessibility, co-written with the late Dr. John Slatin, is a seminal text about how to implement accessible technology. She frequently speaks at technology and disability conferences with the goal of helping organizations to extend employment, education, and social opportunities to everyone – including people of all ages with disabilities.

 

Jayne Schurick, UX Researcher at Knowbility

jayne schurickJayne is a UX Researcher with expertise in all phases of user research, including ethnographic and usability research using a variety of tools, such as observation, interviews, diaries, focus groups, and surveys.  She has worked with many different types of users, including children, adults, seniors, and people with disabilities, in order to develop profiles/personas, identify needs, test product concepts, and measure usability.  Jayne received her Master’s degree in Psychology/Human Factors in 1982 from California State University, Northridge and has done additional graduate work in Industrial Engineering/Human Factors at Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University.