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Today is Global Accessibility Awareness Day (GAAD), a day marked by spreading awareness and promoting digital access and inclusion for the over 1 billion people worldwide with impairments or disabilities. Now more than ever, when there is such an increased reliance on technology for daily living, it is essential that we think about ways to make digital resources accessible to all, regardless of ability. In our community, we know that many children with HIE will go on to develop a host of disabilities and impairments ranging from visual impairment to hearing loss to motor impairment to learning disabilities. We can support those with disabilities and encourage anti-ableism by shifting the focus on “overcoming” disability to overcoming inaccessibility and exclusionary practices that are prevalent in society. It is not an individual with a disability that needs fixing, but a world that actively excludes those with disabilities through barriers to accessibility. In today’s day in age, the world we must focus on progressing includes not only physical space, but digital space. In prioritizing digital accessibility, we can improve usability for all, even those who do not have disabilities.
So, what is digital accessibility?
Digital accessibility is the ability of a website, mobile application or any electronic document to be easily perceived, understood, navigated by a wide range of users, including users with disabilities. In an effort to promote digital accessibility, there is a worldwide standard set of recommendations for making Web content more accessible called the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG). Some common modifications to increase web accessibility include:
And yet, in spite of the WCAG, according to the 2020 Web Accessibility Annual Report, 98% of websites fail to comply with accessibility requirements for people with disabilities. In addition, this same study found that of the one million website home pages analyzed, the average number of failures to comply with WCAG was a whopping 60.9 per home page.
Assistive Technology Resources
Luckily, however, there are also many resources and assistive technology tools to help those with disabilities navigate the web, including:
To learn more about how inclusive design and digital accessibility can impact lives, here are some helpful videos:
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