Accessibility Awareness is on the Rise, but is It Turning into Action

Accessibility Awareness is on the Rise, but is It Turning into Action

People all throughout the world have made enormous changes to how they connect with the world during the last roughly two years. Many people were compelled to adjust their everyday habits because of it. Unfortunately, some of these changes will make everyday chores that many people take for granted difficult for anybody who requires accessibility or modifications. According to a Harris Poll, the epidemic has caused more than half of American people to increase their internet habits. For persons with impairments, that figure rises to 60%.

The rise in an online activity does not imply that everyone will be successful in achieving his or her objectives. So, what effect does the crisis have on accessibility? Is the message about the need of accessibility now getting through to businesses? Has it seemed that accessibility or individuals with disabilities have been on everyone’s mind in recent years? People with impairments and accessible technology have featured prominently in several TV commercials from Big Tech companies.

Apple was the first to air prime-time commercials on network television, followed by Microsoft with a commercial during America’s largest sporting event. In a Google commercial, a deaf person uses his Pixel phone’s Live Caption to contact his son for the first time. In addition, Amazon has a commercial featuring Brendan, a deaf employee. Accessibility awareness appears to be increasing. In May, Apple, Google, and Microsoft unveiled a plethora of changes and materials relating to accessibility across their products in commemoration of Global Accessibility Awareness Day. The DAGERSystem Accessible Games Database, which was announced earlier this year and is now operational, is now available. Gamers may now look for accessible games by platform and filter them by auditory, visual, color, and fine motor abilities.

It is fantastic that tech businesses are talking about accessibility, supporting it, and even budgeting for it. However, there is a distinction to make between talking about it and really doing anything about it: talking about it does not make a website accessible. That necessitates action. According to a recent Forrester poll, eight out of ten businesses are working on digital accessibility. Is anything, in fact, changing? Is it possible for individuals to access websites without encountering any difficulties?

The goal of the State of Accessibility Report (SOAR) for 2021 was to address that issue. SOAR’s goal is to evaluate the existing condition of accessibility in businesses and sectors. It is a method for determining what changed and still needs to improve in terms of accessibility. Historically, the report has derived accessibility metrics by examining the state of accessibility on the top 100 Alexa websites. Rather than focusing on volume, the study focuses on the most popular digital items. Almost usually, change begins at the top. When things improve at the top, the rest of the organization will improve as well.

This is where the Pareto principle, sometimes known as the 80/20 rule, comes into play. With the top 20% of digital items, you will be able to reach around 80% of the visitors. What’s more, the Alexa top 100 in 2021 featured 31 new websites that were not in the top 100 in 2019 or 2020. Only 60% of the tested websites from the Alexa 100 list in 2019 made the list in 2021.

It is simple to understand how the epidemic altered internet activity by looking at the changes and the current Alexa top 100 websites. Much productivity programs, such as file sharing and collaboration tools, delivery services, and communication platforms like Zoom and slack, are found on the top websites. When it comes to video platforms, it is apparent that the epidemic had a significant influence on their accessibility, particularly when it comes to closed captions. Except for Skype, none of the video services had automated captions built-in as of April 2020. Regrettably, the Skype captions were not of the finest quality.