2025 is the deadline for digital accessibility
Only 3% of the internet is accessible to people with disabilities
Increased accessibility for people living with disabilities should be an objective for every organisation. It’s not just the right thing to do. Legislation is also about to move the goalposts for accessibility standards.
The latest is The European Accessibility Act (EAA), which will come into force on June 28, 2025. It will require most digital products to embrace accessibility, conforming to WCAG 2.1 level AA. There are other accessibility regulations across the globe too.
The accessibility of a UK website is covered by the Equality Act 2010. if a business’s website is not accessible, then the website owner could be sued for discrimination.
Under US law, if a business’s website is not accessible, then the website owner could be sued for discrimination under the Americans with Disabilities Act.
In Argentina, public and private websites must be accessible under Law 26,653.
Australia’s primary accessibility law is section 24 of the Disability Discrimination Act 1992 (DDA), which directs all Australian public-facing websites to meet the WCAG accessibility requirements.
It’s about time to start implementing accessibility in everything that you do.
Asher Wren, BASIC/DEPT® VP Growth
“Every company should aim to reflect the diversity of their audience in their advertising and communications. But it doesn’t stop there.
All too often, representation feels inauthentic as brands fall back on disability tropes. Or worse, brands talk a good game about accessibility in their advertising, but the retail experience or product itself makes people feel anything but included, because the brands’ marketing team isn’t connected to the product team, and vice versa.
Building a brand that truly includes everybody takes work. Hire people with disabilities. Bring people with disabilities into your processes. Make sure that internal teams are connected to ensure that you don’t overpromise and underdeliver, or on the flip side if you do have an amazing accessible product or experience people actually find it.
At the end of the day, with 1.3 billion people around the world, the disability community is the largest of all minority groups. So building products and experiences that include them is not just the right thing to do for them, it’s the right thing to do for your business too.”
How to improve digital accessibility in your organisation
Aspire to make each and every project accessible by keeping it top of mind.
Add it to your briefs. Train your teams.
So much accessibility is forgotten simply because teams don’t intentionally put it in their process. At the beginning of your project, make it a focal point and create tasks around it. Make sure your team is aware of the importance of accessibility by providing training and resources. Continuously improve by monitoring your content and design to ensure accessibility and usability.
Keep it fun & engaging
Accessibility requirements are typically viewed as limits. We can’t do X or we can’t do Y. Shift your thinking into one of innovation.
BASIC/DEPT® has outlined five ways to enjoy designing and building for disabilities, from learning and teaching all the way to games and social media exploration. It’s all about, “reframing accessibility as a source of possibilities rather than limitations.”
Leverage emerging tech to make accessibility features explicit in all mediums.
We are living in a world where technology already exists to help disabled folks. Leverage it. Voice-based virtual assistants like Google Assistant can be helpful for people with limited mobility and visual impairments. Text chat and AI chatbots can be useful for those who are hearing impaired or have anxiety about making calls.
Understand your audience and their unique needs by bringing them into the design process early and often.
In the discovery phase of product development, spend time unpacking key information with your audience. Expand the diversity of your users so you can better understand their individual needs. Then, employ co-design methodologies and testing with user cohorts, encourage them to play around with what you’re building early, and consider third-party accessibility auditing and evaluation as needed.
Remember that collaboration, research, testing, and feedback should be ongoing, not a one-time event.
Get familiar with accessibility guidelines today
Learn about the WCAG (web content accessibility guidelines) and start using them in your work. If you have legacy products, conduct an accessibility audit to understand where you are vs. where you need to be. Alongside an audit, get familiar with how to use a screen reader and test your site each time a new iteration goes live.
And finally, work as a team. Accessibility efforts are a cross-team discipline and should start early in the project. Accessibility should be prioritised in the roadmap from the beginning (even before project kick-off) and included in each discipline along the way (sales, UX, design, and frontend development).